everydaycaitlin

The Garden Spot, Week 18

I was looking forward to yesterday’s storm, as my plants (and I), needed a little reprieve from the heat. It started rolling into Greenpoint around 3pm, and I moved some of the smaller plants with lighter pots inside for protection. Those winds were fierce!

scary clouds over greenpoint.

The storm went on for a few hours, with shocking claps of thunder and loud bursts of lightning. Henry the cat, the brave little that dude he is, sat watch on the kitchen table.

A glimmer of sunshine arrive around 6pm, and it remained calm for the rest of the evening. Continue reading

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The Garden Spot, Week 17

I did a post a while back about all the other farms in Brooklyn that I was planning on visiting this summer. While I have been slacking on that a little, I did get out of town this weekend and managed to swing by a place that is pretty inspiring for any small space gardener.

Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, Massachusetts was nothing more than a tiny farm stand when I was a kid, but now it is a flourishing 4H with a giant greenhouse, a fully stocked store, and more baby sheep than you can shake a stick at (please don’t shake a stick at them).

I tried to steal one of these but I don't think they'd get along with my cat.

I am a total softy, and I die for baby animals. My partner and I spent 45 minutes feeding the cows and goats and lambs grain pellets and trying to talk sheep with them. It was totally magical in a way that is hard to find some days in New York.

On our way out I spotted a Charlie Brown-style blueberry bush, and knew it had to be mine. It is now out on the balcony, adjusting to the sounds of McGuinness Boulevard, and the slightly smoggier air of our dear city.

please be bountiful.

Have you gotten out of town recently? What are some fun, farm/garden day trips I should take?

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The Garden Spot, Week 14

we're hot :-(

Summer literally just began and already it’s a scorcher! My balcony garden has seen it’s fair share of extreme weather in the past 14 weeks, but I still wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to preserve my multitude of squashes and newly sprouting cilantro.

Here are some of the best tips I found:

  • Water early in the morning or in the evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Increase the shade or even move some of your more sensitive plants indoors if you can.
  • Weed often so the plants save their energy and use water in the most productive way.
  • Give your plants some space – I am planning on doing some serious re-potting over the weekend with fresh, moist soil to burst some life back into my crowded tomatoes.
  • Some plants wont survive the heat, so decide if you want to replace your most wilted greens, or move on and plan better next year.

What are you doing to protect your garden from the heat? Leave some tips in the comments!

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The Garden Spot, Week 13

I admitted in my very first post that I was not necessarily a skilled gardener. I am definitely a novice, and someone who is prone to mishaps, or rather, serious missteps along the way. This week proved that theory, as I cruelly neglected my little balcony garden while caught up in other life things, and noticed only yesterday how very bad it’s gotten.

The rain has drowned many of my new flowers, leaving a small swamp for me to deal with. My radishes have sprouted flowers, which I am not sure they are supposed to do, and my lettuces have straight up perished.

I am going away this weekend for a wedding (’tis the season) and I am at a loss at how to solve all of these problems before I take off tomorrow morning.

Leave your condolences in the comments, I need as much support as I can get!

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The Garden Spot, Week 11

Nobody likes a wilted basil!

An appropriate title for this week’s column might be, “Sad, Droopy Things”. I mean, wasn’t that what we all were this past week?

The H was O, as they say, and we were all wondering how this could possibly be just the beginning of summer (or, technically, still the end of spring).

Pathetic.

My plants were no exception, and as I checked on them this morning, I noticed that many of them had shriveled a little under the stress of the humidity. My most promising squash seems to have deflated, turning in on itself in an almost painful display of undernourishment.

Don’t worry little guy, I got you! This week is all about making sure the basic needs of my baby seeds get met.

How are your plants taking the heat? Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

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The Garden Spot, Week 10

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but this is a column about gardening, so deal with it! So, did you guys see the weather forecast this week? I mean, actually pull it up on your iPhone and look at it? It made me want to curl up in bed with Henry Littleboots and all the delivery burritos in the world and never be heard from again.

But alas, my garden needs me! So what is one to do when life hands her the weather equivalent of an entire lemon tree? Plant flowers, of course!

This week I headed to – where else – World of Flowers and picked up some new seeds: Cosmos, Chinese Lanterns, and Calendula — all red, orange, and yellow. My flowers are going to be so fashion forward!

I love having fresh flowers in the house, and frankly, it doesn’t make any sense for me to purchase them when I can grow them in my tiny garden.

Have you planted any flowers this year? How are you coping with the rain?

Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

weather photo c/o Buzzfeed

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The Garden Spot, Week 9

It’s been a rainy, muggy week here in Greenpoint. I’m going to be honest and say I’ve spent more time catching up on TV and frequenting the brand new Beloved than gardening. However, sometimes the plants take care of themselves (hey, they’ve been doing it since literally forever!).

This morning I awoke to a really special sight. Out of nowhere it seemed that my squash had blossomed! I have a whole mess of little yellow flowers. I was told I should try catching some of these before they bloom, stuff them with cheese and fry them, ….maybe I will give it a shot tonight.

This past weekend, before the rain, I transferred all of my cowpots into regular-sized pots. They seem to be doing well and growing ten times faster. It’s amazing what a little space can do (am I right, Brooklyn renters?)!

How are your gardens coming along? Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

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The Garden Spot, Week 8

Can I just brag about something for a minute? 8 Weeks ago I started this humble column with the intention of using it to help me stick to my gardening and spread information related to the neighborhood. I wanted to feel inspired every week to plan, maintain, learn, and ultimately be a better grower and producer. This week I took a step back and looked at what I had accomplished thus far.

My lettuces are not big enough to eat yet, but they are lush and healthy. My basil emits the most intense, wonderful smell at the touch. Sunflowers and radishes are shooting out of the dirt over night. But there is one plant I am particularly excited about.

My summer squashes are as sturdy as trees. They have these big, vibrant leaves and every time I look at them I am filled with a great sense of pride. They were once tiny seeds, and now they are big, beautiful plants. Way to go, little guys!

I guess this is the rewarding feeling everyone talks about. While I haven’t gotten to taste the fruits of my labor, I get to witness it every day and know I am doing something right. It’s totally awesome.

So, how is your garden coming along? I want to see pics! Tweet me @everydaycaitlin

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The Garden Spot, Week 3

They say April showers bring May flowers, but no one ever said that March is just a series of eighty-degree days followed by random cold fronts. If this column should imply anything, it is that I was very excited for the warmer weather – so much so, that I fear I may have jumped the gun on my little balcony garden.

When Pat Kiernan announced that it would be in the 30s this week, and that we would have a frost, I sprung into action. I wasn’t going to let this whole thing go to waste!

 

The greenhouse would have to come inside.

This seemed like a simple enough project, I would take the plants in first, line them up on the kitchen table, and then bring the frame of the greenhouse inside. Unfortunately, when moving the seed starter kit, the entire thing split in half (literally cracked down the middle), sending about a gallon of water all over yours truly. A few choice swear words and fifteen minutes of mopping later, I had managed to salvage my seedlings.  Luckily, these babies are just waiting to be transplanted into their adult pots, so they wont miss the kit too much.

The other pest of the transport process was none other than the devil himself, Henry Littleboots. Once I managed to get all the plants back inside, and secure the somewhat wobbly frame, Henry was all over it like a new Christmas tree (as you can see from the top picture). I knew he’d be curious, but the rascal got all up inside it, and even made a bed for himself on top. He hasn’t done any damage (so far), and I figure I have to risk this possibility as a tradeoff for the surefire death that is frost.

My plan for this weekend is to transfer my seedlings into their grown up homes, and maybe look into cherry tomatoes (though I am a total sucker for those gorgeous rainbow colored heirloom ones they sell at the farmer’s market).

How did you take care of your plants this chilly week? Did you make sweaters for their pots? Tell me all about it on twitter @everydaycaitlin !

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