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Jul 6, 2010
It’s a jungle out there
Amanda Green  Guest Blogger 2010

The lack of apartment space in NYC is something I've had to get used to in the nearly five years I've lived here. It's the reason I have to keep my off-season wardrobe in a trunk that smells mysteriously of graham crackers. It's why I stopped buying books, and consider buying two items at once a bulk purchase. It's why I don't have pets.

It's also why my fire escape garden is starting to look a bit like a jungle. The stem of one tomato plant has reached the height of the railing, threatening to surpass it any day. The pepper plants are full and green. This baby is producing produce, folks!

Last week, I couldn't resist buying a sunflower plant to keep the garden company. "These will grow to be crazy, monstrous sunflowers, right?" I asked. The clerk nodded. "Okay. Perfect."

I'm enabling the jungle, but I know I need to tame it if my plants are going to thrive much more. I've been putting off re-potting, because NYC got really hot. I'm from Texas, so I know it's not as hot as say, San Antonio or the face of the sun. But it's hot and very few buildings have central air conditioning. Most days here are hot and humid and still — the meteorological triple threat.

My garden doesn't get direct sunlight, but I'm starting to wonder if it needs some protection. Some of the leaves on the plants are burnt in spots. A few pepper plant leaves look ragged at the edges. I'm also wondering when and if I need to start worrying about garden pests.

True story: One night I was working at my desk when a shadow slowly crept across my computer monitor. It was walking down the fire escape ladder! I stood up quietly so I'd be ready to clobber the thief or peeping Tom or knife-wielding lunatic. But it was a raccoon! (I live near Central Park, which is overrun with raccoons. They don't show this on Sex and the City, I know.)

The raccoon and I stood frozen for a minute, watching each other. I lunged to close the window, and he or she took off. I've got a jungle that needs reconfiguring. I can't get overrun by a scavenging wild animal. The tomatoes are feisty enough.

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