The Garden Spot, Week 1

This is one woman’s journey with small-space gardening in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Here is an appropriately corny picture of me with some flowers.

So let me start off with some back-story: Last year my boyfriend and I moved from one apartment on Eckford, to another apartment directly across the street. We upgraded from a small ground level two-bedroom (that we shared with a roommate), to a modern monstrosity with floor to ceiling windows and the tiniest bit of outdoor space. The first thing I did that spring was set up a garden on our balcony.

By garden I mean, I bought some pots, threw some seeds in the dirt, and waited. Occasionally I would go to Sprout and buy a new plant and mix it in with rest and wait to see what happened. By the end of the summer our balcony looked like a wilted graveyard and I had one sad sweet potato that sort of resembled a swollen thumb. I was envious of all the Brooklyn/Urban/Small Space Gardeners who had buckets of squash and full heirloom tomatoes to cook dinner with. We still had to go out and buy produce at Key Foods when we needed it.

At the end of the season all I knew was that, next year I will be doing it RIGHT.

So I present to you: The Garden Spot. This is a weekly column where I will share the ups and downs of gardening in a small space, specifically in Greenpoint. I will buy all my supplies at local stores, stay abreast of local farming/gardening news, create and share recipes from my garden and the local farmers markets, and generally provide information for all you gardening newbies out there. Like I said, I failed miserably last year, so I make no claims that this year will be any more fruitful. However, sharing it with you will hopefully prove fun and informative for all of us.

So let’s get started!
Week 1: Seedlings

If you are going to be gardening in a small space and want to get a head start, it’s a good idea to buy a small seed starter kit. I ordered this one online from Burpee, because I was on an online shopping spree (I know I’ve already broken the local rule but I will say that a similar kit is available at A World of Flowers).  I purchased organic seeds (very important) from Sprout, which is technically in Williamsburg. It is important to note that I have not been able to find organic seeds at any Greenpoint shop.

So far I have planted:

  • Chives
  • Radishes
  • Catnip (for Henry Littleboots, who I am sure will make an appearance in this column).
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash
  • Nasturtium (I had never heard of this flower before, but all the gardening books I am reading say it’s a winner)

As you can see, the radishes are beating all the other plants. Go Radishes! Go!

I also set up a small greenhouse on our balcony. I might just use it as shelving for small pots and planters as the weather warms up, but either way, it is an excellent space saver. And yes, I made sure it was secured tightly to the frame and railing.


The gardening books I am referencing are:

I don’t anticipate raising chickens or bees, or even becoming the best radish grower any time soon.  What I really hope to accomplish is the creation of a space that provides a few meals, as well as a deeper look into the possibilities and problems with small-space farming. I look forward to sharing this experiment with you, and hearing all your tips, suggestions, and knowledge on small, Greenpoint-centric gardening! You can also follow @everydaycaitlin on Twitter for more general/less garden-related fare. Now get out there and enjoy this warm weather!

3 Comments

  1. Jo says:

    Ha, when you mentioned the modern floor-to-ceiling windowed monstrosity on Eckford I wondered if it was indeed the one on my block—yup. I’ll probably be sneaking peaks at your garden balcony now from the street. Good luck with the project, looking forward to the updates!

    Reply
  2. Matthew says:

    Awesome, Cailtin! Adrian and I got 4 of those planter things last year and we had such healthy, beautiful little plants growing on our washing machine. Then the day came to plant them. We took them outside, turned our backs for a moment, and our puppy gleefully stomped, ate, dug and destroyed each little sprout with amazing precision. So we weren’t too eager to try again this year, but you’ve gone done and inspired me!! I love the greenhouse you made, too! so neat! :)

    Reply
  3. joni says:

    This is a great column. I will definitely be keeping up and trying to get inspired for my own garden as well.

    Reply

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