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!
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!
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).
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.
This game is fun! I randomly pick a business card from a pickle jar and introduce a local business. Today I grabbed a card that said Pink Serissa Terrariums. We love terrariums around here! I remember seeing these lovely and unique terrariums at the Go Green! Greenpoint Earth Day Festival in McCarren Park a few weeks back.
There were underwater and hanging terrariums, and plants that required no soil, which blew my mind. I remember the prices to be very reasonable. The website needs updating, but the Pink Serissa Etsy Store was informative with beautiful photographs.
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?)!
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
The party is over folks; my landlord has taken away one of my simplest pleasures, watching and listening to the birds who grace my feeder daily and keep my hyperactive cat “Bean” out of trouble.
Remember this music video I made to the house finches? There won’t be any more of those.
Today two Gray CatBirds (Dumetella carolinensis) visited. They are really beautiful, all matte grey, with a reddish underside, a long tail and little black hat on their head. Their call sounds like a cat and they were going nuts over the suet.
Then I heard repeated banging on my door. It was my landlord. “No birdfeeder!”
I should have acted like a catbird; according to Wiki, they “are not afraid of predators and respond to them aggressively by flashing their wings and tails and by making their signature mew sounds. They are also known to even attack and peck predators that come too near their nests.”
So now that the spring is fully upon us, and our plants are safe being left outdoors 24/7, it’s time to start planning field trips! As you know, this is my first foray into gardening in Greenpoint, so I have a serious to-do list as far as places to go and things to see.
Eagle Street Roof Top Farm
As I’ve been living in Greenpoint for over 2 years, it’s sad/surprising that I’ve never been here before. I am really excited to head over in a few weeks and check it out during their open hours – I’ve heard that view is spectacular!
This hydroponic greenhouse on top of the Greenpoint Wood Exchange is like my tiny greenhouse on steroids, and I am sort of obsessed with it. Founded in 2008, it produces 80 tons of quality produce year-round. They aren’t currently doing tours, but maybe they will make an exception for Greenpointers? Hey guys, how about it?
While technically in Long Island City, Brooklyn Grange is going to be worth the (tiny) trek. Another rooftop farm, the Grange grows over 40 kinds of tomatoes (jealous!) as well as greens, radishes, herbs and so much more.
Java St. Garden
This community garden at 59 Java Street just got the green light to dig in this spring! They are still getting things started, and regularly have planting sessions on Saturdays so feel free to stop by and help out.
Red Shed Community Garden
The Red Shed Community Garden is located at 266 Skillman Street, and functions both as a green space in an otherwise industrial area, and a classroom to teach students about agriculture. They have open gardening days, as well as free-plant giveaways (the next one is May 8th!)
So I am sure I missed a lot of great places. What are some of your favorite gardens/farms in the neighborhood? Tweet them to me @everydaycaitlin – I want to see them all!
Last week I shared my excitement about Hayseed’s Big City Farm Supply opening up like, 3 blocks from my apartment. I finally got to head down there today and check it out – and it was everything I had hoped it would be and more. More being the fact that I got to hold this rabbit named Carrot!
The shop itself is airy and bright, with heaps of seeds, soil, pots, books, shovels, bee keeping equipment, and of course, bunny raising supplies. If you are feeling a bit blue today, this is what you should do. Go down to Hayseed’s and hug the rabbit.
Megan Paska, one of the owner’s of Hayseed’s and creator of BrooklynHomesteader, was more than helpful when it came to answering all the customer’s questions. She told me about the reasons behind opening the shop (to get affordable supplies to eager urban farmers), as well as what some of the most popular products are (books and seeds, no surprise there!).
Hayseed’s is not just a shop, they are also growing their own garden in the lot next door. This is quite a sight next to the big rigs and gas stations that line McGuinness Avenue.
I left with a few lbs. of dirt, a set of CowPots and some hot pepper and cilantro seeds (definitely a Mexican food theme happening in my garden) for less than $20.
All in all, Hayseed’s is an excellent addition to the neighborhood, and I look forward to many visits over the next couple months. They are only open through June, so go check them out while you still can!
Hayseed’s is located at 218 India Street in Greenpoint.
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 !