urban gardening

50% OFF TIX TO WAKEFIELD’S ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE WITH VIRAJ PURI (GOTHAM GREENS)

Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri

Did you know there is a commercial hydroponic urban farm on a rooftop in Greenpoint? Have you tried their salads? They are wonderful!

Viraj Puri, the founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, kicks off Wakefield’s Electric Locomotive on Wednesday September 20, 2012 at 6:30pm with a talk about how this magical farm on top of an old bowling alley in North Brooklyn came to be.

Wakefield is an awesome and free daily email that connects you with the stories behind the startups, great jobs and new products.

The wonderful folks at Ovenly will provide treats for all.

Our readers receive 50% off the ticket price with the pomo code Greenpointers.

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The Garden Spot, Week 15

If I’ve learned anything about small scale gardening in the last 15 weeks, its that you really do get what you give. This past weekend I attacked my garden for a few hours, pruning and weeding, and saying goodbye to some bolting radish plants and sad looking lettuce. It was a rewarding process, as now my garden is in tip top shape.

I now know which plants really thrive in the space/light I give them — summer squashes, basil, kale, and sunflowers. I decided that I can never have too much basil, so I combined some of my squash plants in a larger container, and used their old pots to plant some more of the delicious green stuff (pesto for days!).

I also did a fair bit of harvesting, which I cooked up that same night in the style of a salad from my beloved Anella. All fresh, all local, all totally grown by me. It was truly a beautiful thing.

Are you eating anything from your garden yet? I want to hear all about it!

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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 4

Gardening can sometimes feel like an ominous fitness regimen. You’ve committed to a challenge, invested in supplies, and now you must maintain the project every day in order to succeed. You watch other people around you excel with leaps and bounds, all the while your tiny basil plant has just start to make it’s way out of the ground.

I can see why it might be discouraging to some people – but just like the world of diet and exercise, there is a ridiculous amount of resources and information out there to help you reach your goals. What I have found thus far is that sticking to one plan is best, and seeking inspiration from the world around you only improves your drive. I mean, I see a particularly pretty rosemary bush, and I want to go home and COMPOST, know what I mean?

Anyway, it’s been a little chilly outside, so my garden is still hanging out indoors – which means there not a lot to report right now.  So this week I thought I’d hook you up with a couple of my favorite inspiration resources, as well as share something I am very excited about.

If you have a few hours to spare and want to fall into a container gardening worm-hole (haha) there is Life On The Balcony. It’s filled with all sorts of Pinterest/Apartment Therapy-looking inspiration that pretty much screams, “do this on a Sunday afternoon.”

I’m not always the DIY type, but I love to support those who are. It’s no surprise that Etsy has some of the best, most original gardening accoutrements around. You can also look for stuff directly from Brooklyn sellers, if you want to keep things wicked local.

And finally – this is sort of my dream come true. There is going to be an urban gardening pop-up shop in Greenpoint from April 4 through the end of June.  HaySeed’s Big City Farm Supply will provide everything from soil to lessons to bees. And it’s just down the street on India!

Until then, do you have any great resources you’d like to share with me? Tweet them to @everydaycaitlin !

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The Garden Spot, Week 2

I don’t want to be too hyperbolic, but given my devotion to this project, my seedlings are sort of like my babies. That’s why, when I took a four-day trip to Florida last week, I was a little nervous to leave them alone. Though I had a trust-worthy friend coming by to water them (and take care of the cat), I was still fretting what I might see upon my return.

A few examples of my fears:

  • Mold all over the seed starter kit.
  • A hungry Henry Littleboots ravaged the baby plants, leaving nothing but bits of roots and paw-prints on everything.
  • Nothing. No growth. No change.

As you can see from this picture, I was pleasantly relieved. Spring had sprung in my little plastic container! The main crops you see on the right are lettuces – spinach and kale, as well as some mixed salad greens. We also have sunflowers jutting up, chives, and a little basil for good measure.

I spent the next morning transferring the larger seedlings into their adult pots and placing them in the greenhouse. It’s going to get up to 80 degrees this week, so I think it is certainly time for them to be placed outside.

When I transferred them I used organic potting soil (purchased from A World Of Flowers), and I mixed in some coffee grinds and orange peels. I know this isn’t proper compost, but I have read that both of these things are good for plants. So far, the mixture is helping my radishes grow into pork taco garnish at the speed of, well, light.

As you can see, my greenhouse is filling up quickly. I don’t want to extend the garden over the entire balcony, as I need somewhere to sit and yell at teenagers this summer. However, I am interested in some kind of tree or vine – lemons or tomatoes. Has anyone had particular success growing either of these outdoors in Greenpoint?

I also decided that I would accept the challenge of planting asparagus. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and something I look forward to all year. Like tomatoes, it is truly better in season. The unfortunate thing about asparagus is that it is not easy to grow, and you can’t cut the stalks the first year. This means that though we may have a green village to look at, we will have to wait until next summer to harvest them and wrap them in prosciutto and smother them in butter. Also, the roots look like alien tentacles.

While it’s all been good news so far, we do have a little problem. Henry cannot seem to leave my indoor palm tree alone. We wake up to this sad sight almost every morning. Does anyone have any tips for keeping cats out of houseplants?

(For some reason I thought putting wine corks over the soil would deter him. Silly me.)

Has anyone else started their small garden yet? Let me know how it’s going @everydaycaitlin !

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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.

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