rooftop farm

The Garden Spot, Week 16

So, um, do you guys have a favorite herb?

In my post-college life, my favorite leafy green substance has to be basil. I seriously cannot get enough of it. I put that shiz on everything!

Last week I did a major overhaul of the garden and decided to sow some seeds that seemed to be flourishing on my balcony. I now have the beginnings of what just might be more basil than I know what to do with.

Maybe I should start a small business?

Basil for days!

Do you have any plants that are doing particularly well? I want to hear your success stories!

 

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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 12

A Forest of Chives

Twelve weeks of gardening, and I can finally enjoy the fruits of my labor! Well, not so much fruits as herbs.

A few days ago I went out onto the balcony and plucked basil, rosemary, and chives, all ready to be chopped up and thrown into a lovely herb crusted chicken dish – which I of course, forgot to take a picture of.

However, now that food-eating season is upon us, I plan to start including lots of my favorite recipes and tutorials. After all, I grew these plants for a reason! And that reason is for them to be in my mouth.

Some of my favorite summer recipes are things like simple Caprese salads, grilled corn with lots of butter, asparagus (by the way, RIP my asparagus, they did not like it outdoors), and most kinds of mojitos. What are some of yours? Are you picking up what they are putting down at the new McGolrick farmer’s market? Tell me everything @everydaycaitlin

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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 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 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 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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