It’s been about a week since I started a worm compost bin in my kitchen. When I checked in on it, the newspaper was very damp and there weren’t many worms in sight. I dug some more and finally found some worms, but they weren’t very lively at all. Not to point fingers (but I will), my roommate threw in some coffee grinds in there without adding additional newspaper to dry it out. The result seems to be a worm bin that is too wet. It’s not leaking or runny and there is no smell though, which is a plus. All didn’t...

There were two of the hanging soda bottle planters that I took down from my fire escape garden. The first one that I removed was because one side of the rope snapped and it was dangling by one side. So I removed it for safety reasons. I didn’t want another soda bottle falling like one did when I did my fall planting. Safety first. The other that was removed was the bottle with the basil. It was apparent weeks ago, when I realized that basil isn’t a cold weather herb, but I was holding on to the fleeting thought that it would...

One of my cauliflower plants is finally starting to head. A few weeks ago, I gave my thoughts on growing cauliflower in containers. I received varied responses as to why they weren’t heading – the weather, not enough nutrients, too many plants in one container and more. Not sure what to do, I let the plants be and didn’t do much to mess with them. Sure enough a little over a month later, one of the plants is starting to head. I’m going to continue to keep the container as is. It wasn’t the first time that...

Last week, I realized that there was a support problem with the small plastic greenhouses in my backyard vegetable garden. The water was gathering in the plastic causing it to fall and crush the plants. This week the problems continue with them in Brooklyn. One of the plastic covers blew completely off and another slipped off a bit. I think there are a few things going wrong with them. The most obvious one is that the rope is loosening up during the week, which is allowing the plastic covering to come off. For the backyard vegetable garden,...

Posted on Nov 11 2009 - 5:40am by Mike Lieberman
#8

When do you plant cucumber plants? Not in July. I can tell you that much. Now that the cold weather has come around and it’s dropped into the 40s some nights, the cucumber plant is sad looking. I’m hoping that the two small pieces of fruit on it will grow some more, but I’ll have to wait and see. Next year, I’ll definitely get the cucumber planted much earlier in the season. Here’s what happened this year and why I planted it so late – I killed the first one and took too long to get the next one planted....

I finally manned up and started the worm compost bin in my kitchen. It’s filled with newspaper, red worms and my food scraps. I’m hoping that in doing this that I’ll be able to use more of my food scraps. I haven’t been able to add too many of my scraps to the aerobic compost bin that I have set up because it’s too small. My hesitation in setting up the worm bin is putting in too much food and having the stink that I did back in the spring. I plan on taking it slow at first and see how the worms handle the...

I set up the small plastic greenhouses last week on my fire escape and backyard vegetable gardens. When I had set them up on my fire escape, I tied some strings up at the top to support the weight of the plastic and debris that fell on it. I didn’t do the same with the ones in the backyard. So after a few days of rain and me not being there to drain off the water, the weight of the water fell onto the plants causing them to flatten out a bit. There is no excuse for that happening except my laziness. I drained the water off the plastic,...

Last month, I planted kale and lettuce in the container that I harvested my celery from. At the time, I wasn’t sure if the the kale and lettuces would grow because of the celery root. Little did I realize that after being harvested, the celery would continue to grow. So now the containers have celery growing along with lettuce and kale. I don’t think it’s the optimal growing situation because I already know that celery plants like to grow in their own containers. Much like “Ebony and Ivory” they are living...

Back in August, I shared a story with you about Mariann. She lives in Arizona and was hesitant about starting her own container garden, but did it anyways. Now that she has over two months of experience and experimentation under her belt, she checked back in and shared her progress with me. Below is part of her email: “If you recall when I started I planted by seeds, early girl tomatoes, cucumber, basil and oregano. Of that 1st batch all that survived was the basil and the cucumber plant. I have harvested quite a bit of basil and...

Now that I’m over six months deep into this gardening game ‘m starting to notice a pattern in some of my plants. There is something wrong with their growth. The cauliflower has yet to head and the cucumber leaves are yellowing. Now my spinach plants are starting to show some ill effects as well. They are getting some brownish dots on their leaves. The one commonality between all of these plants is that I did not feed any of them. After I finished my initial planting with soil and compost, I never added more compost and nutrients....

Up until this point I’ve been pretty lucky with the pest problems in either of my gardens. The fire escape garden has a built in defense from pests being on the fourth floor. My backyard vegetable garden doesn’t have that luxury. Back in June there were some small signs of pest problems, but nothing horrible. The containers seemed to be a pest deterrent. I’ve since expanded to more than containers though to cinder block gardening and during my final fall planting used traditional pots. The pests seem to be much more...

Is there a saying that a plant takes after it’s owner? Well if not, I think someone should start that saying because my basil plant definitely takes after me. The basil plant, much like myself, has severely wilted and not sure if it’s going to be spring back to life. I’m thinking that I should’ve put the miniature greenhouse on it sooner. I’m not totally giving up on because my pepper plants already proved me wrong when I talked smack on them. Let me focus on the positive of the basil plant – I was...

Never at a loss for words, I decided to ask my Grandmother about her thoughts on my small plastic greenhouse design. She’s been asking me for a while about what I should do and has been telling me to buy this and buy that. I kept telling her that I didn’t want to buy anything and wanted to use as many existing items as I possibly could. Earlier in the week, I had set them up on my fire escape garden and was spending the day at her place getting them ready in the backyard garden. So while she rested from going to her early...

The other day on my fire escape garden, I got my mini greenhouses for my hanging soda bottle planters up. Now I finally got the greenhouses built for the self watering containers as well. The total cost to build the greenhouse was $0 since I used all materials that I had lying around my apartment. I was also able to cover two of the containers with one bag. The tomato plant was left uncovered because I don’t have a bag nearly large enough to cover that beast. Of course now that they are set up, the weather during the day is starting...

Now that the weather has dropped into the 40s, it was time for me to start covering up the plants on my fire escape garden. I started to put my plan into action last week, when I used phone books to get the containers off the metal. My next step was to set up a miniature green house for the hanging soda bottle planters. There are two things that I wanted to accomplish – keeping the soil warm and protecting the plant. I made these using materials that I had lying around or were readily available – more soda bottles, old t-shirts...

I finally found a way not only to use phone books, but to use them in your container garden. Since fall has quickly arrived, the weather’s dropped. I’ve been planning to build a hothouse, but don’t think that the weather has dropped to that point yet. As a first step to building one on my fire escape garden, I knew that I wanted to raise the containers off of the cold metal. The initial plan was to fold up cardboard boxes and place them under the containers. That plan changed when I went running the other day. As I...

I’m still figuring out what to do with my cucumber plants because the leaves are yellowing. It’s just over a month since I moved my cucumber plant across the yard. The plant was moved for a few reasons. First being that it was outgrowing the trellis that I built for it and needed more support, so I moved it close to the fence to train it up. The second being that the leaves were yellowing, which I thought was due to sun exposure. The plant is growing along the fence, still bearing fruit and blooming. That’s nice, but...

Now that I have my final fall planting done in my backyard vegetable garden, I’m starting to look back and evaluate my first season of gardening. As I look at my garden, I ask myself…why did I grow radicchio? I can’t complain about the way that it’s growing and would definitely recommend it, which is more than I can say for cauliflower. The problem is that I just haven’t used it at all. So what’s the point of growing something if I’m not going to use it. It’s not that impressive for me to...

With the fall season upon us, I can look back at my initial May planting and say that I’m most disappointed in the cauliflower plant. Of all the plants, it’s the one that has done the least. It’s pretty much done nothing. A few weeks ago, I also said that I wouldn’t recommend growing red peppers in small spaces, but was proven wrong when they started to bloom again. At least that I got some peppers out of those plants though. With the cauliflower, I’ve gotten nothing. Here’s my thoughts on what could...

Now I got my final fall planting done on my fire escape garden. I had a bunch of lettuce leftover from my fall planting in my backyard vegetable garden. Didn’t have much room for any more self watering containers, so I made more hanging planters. This time I used soda bottles, a Dr. Bronner’s gallon container and a coffee container. I have a lot more space on the fire escape than I originally thought. This is definitely good to know for next spring. It’s all part of the learning process, and I see the garden much...