After two months, the cherry tomato container on my fire escape is starting to produce fruit and was starting to get a bit wild. I needed to keep it in check and set up some kind of support for them. The following materials were used to do so – tree branches, string and tire wire. Three tree branches were attached to the fire escape (so that people can still grab the railing in case of emergency) using the tire wire and one was staked in the middle to support the entire plant. Then I tied string to the branches and wound up forming...

Posted on Jul 17 2009 - 3:00am by Mike Lieberman
#6

I finally got a around to buying and planting a new cucumber plant in my Brooklyn garden. After the first week, the first cucumber plant died. At the advice of the gardener that I bought it from, I did not separate the plants and just planted them together. This one better last longer. Just sayin. ...

I needed to transplant my celery into a new self watering container because the telephone pole in my Grandmother’s neighbor’s backyard rotted and crashed into her backyard. Luckily, nobody was hurt. Can’t say the same for my celery container. When the pole fell, it hit the pipe, which in turn cracked the reservoir. I used duct tape to patch up the hole because duct tape fixes everything. It’s a myth, don’t believe the hype. The container was still leaking. Thankfully, I still had some green tubs left over...

I didn’t want to have another post about my Grandmother so soon, but after spending the day with her yesterday I had to post a little something. I spent the day with her to help clean out her shed and take care of some chores around the backyard (because I am such a wonderful grandson.) As I was about to leave she asked me to pick her some lettuce for her dinner. If you didn’t catch the first post about her, she called my lettuce “grass” when I asked her to taste it. So I was shocked when she asked me and her thoughts...

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been showering my lettuce plants with love because they’ve been producing the most. Nearly forgot that I had peppers and tomatoes planted on my fire escape as well. Luckily for me, they didn’t hold it against me and are starting to produce. There is a small sweet Italian pepper that has formed and is doing it’s thing (whatever it’s called) with lots of flowering going on. My cherry tomato plant is also blooming (I’ll use different phrases until I find out what the proper...

When I last left you, I was wondering whether or not I properly harvested my lettuce. It was a week since I had harvested them and they were looking…dead. This is my first time checking in since returning and am happy to say that the lettuces are ok and fully growing. It just took a bit longer after harvesting for them to grow again. There is still some browning towards the bottom, but the growth is there. I appreciate the comments that were left about lettuce not liking the heat and how to deal with that.I’ll definitely take...

Let me start this post by saying that I’ll be taking off for a week and a half. Going on a camping trip to the Grand Canyon and Utah. Try not to miss me too much. Now on to the post… Last week, I harvested my lettuce for the first time and was pretty happy. This week, I might be able to substitute the word “kill” for “harvest”. I think I clipped them too close to the roots and killed them. Dead. Done. No more life. On a good note, I didn’t kill the tomato plant. It actually started to flower...

I spend a lot of time with my Grandmother. One day during the winter we got to talking and I expressed my interest in wanting to grow my own vegetables. She offered up her backyard, which was great. As much as I wanted to utilize it, it wouldn’t have been fair to her because some of the responsibility would be on her shoulders. Door to door Gram is about an hour commute from my Manhattan apartment. So making that trip 3-4 times a week would’ve been a bit much for me. She just turned 90 a few months back, but she’s still...

After not checking in for a week, I was bit nervous in checking in on my vegetable garden in Brooklyn. Luckily with the ridiculous amounts of rain that we’ve been getting, things looked good, but some of the containers showed signs of pest problems. The first problem that I noticed was on the collard greens. Some of the leaves on the left side were a bit chewed through. Most of the bigger leaves were untouched. I didn’t notice any pests on them while I was there. At this point, I’m not seeing this as a huge problem, but...

Last month, I read the book Plenty. There was a passage in it about “food traceability” and how our food travels on the average 1,500 to 2,000 miles from farm to plate. That has stuck with me, well because that number is insane. Besides the distance that it traveled, what about what else went into getting that food to me. How was it treated? Who are the people that worked to get it to me? How were they treated? Even though I didn’t start from seed, I can tell you that I got the planter from Trina at Silver Heights Farm,...

After being away for six days, I was shocked when I returned to see the growth of the lettuces in my containers. It was definitely time for my first harvest. Most of the leaves were at least 6 inches and didn’t want them to get much larger. This brings me one step closer to my goal of getting one salad. Didn’t turn this into a salad because I had already eaten dinner. Made this post abbreviated because still playing catch up from being away. I definitely wanted to get something posted though as it’s pretty damned exciting...

We’ve been through how to build a self watering container, talked about what kind of potting soil to use and how to make it. Now I am going to tell (and show) you how to water them and how to tell it’s filled: On my fire escape garden, I use a funnel and an empty juice bottle. In my Brooklyn garden, I use a hose. Fill with water (not Kool-Aid) through the pipe. Once the reservoir is filled, it will start to come out of the overflow hole that was drilled into the side. ...

Even though I’m out of town, I still wanted to post something for the day. So I decided to take some glamour photos of me and my gardens before I left. Enjoy! ...

After the poor display of the herbs on my fire escape, I was very happy when I checked in on my Brooklyn vegetable garden. Everything looked real good, well except for the cucumber plant or what was the cucumber plant. Peep these photos: I am heading out of town this afternoon and heading to Bonnaroo. I’ll be back on Monday, but I still have posts scheduled for when I am gone. ...

It’s been a rainy week here in Seattle, I mean New York, so I haven’t been paying much mind to the vegetables out on my fire escape. When I finally checked on them, I was happy to see that the lettuces, peppers and tomatoes looked pretty healthy. Then I looked above them and noticed the sad, sad sight of the herb garden I started to grow in the upside down vegetable planters. They looked the opposite of healthy – dead. Here’s what I think contributed to my massacre of the herbs: My surgeon like touch. Much like...

In a previous post, I explained the basic differences between coconut coir and peat moss based potting soils. Now I am going to show you how to make your own potting soil using a peat moss base. Here’s what you need to make your own organic potting soil: Sphagnum peat moss – holds water and air; provides little nutriton Vermiculite – provides minerals (potassium, calcium and magnesium) Garden lime – provides minerals (calcium) and balances acidity of peat moss Compost – provides the lion share of the nutrition...

This whole experience is all new to me, especially the part about actually planting. Here’s five things I learned about how to plant vegetables in a self watering container: Be gentle. Pop the vegetable out of it’s cell. Push it from the bottom and gently pull out. There are many plants in a cell. A lot of the cells contain multiple plants, so you have to thumb around the soil line to see the separation of the plants. Pry apart with thumbs. Use your thumb to gently pry them apart. You’ll wind up breaking up some of...

It’s one full week since I’ve planted my vegetable gardens on my fire escape and in Brooklyn. Here’s an update on how things are progressing. Before I do that, I wanted to let you know that I decided not to garden at my parents in Staten Island and to move those containers to Brooklyn. Logistically, it makes more sense that way. My Fire Escape Vegetable Garden The tomato plant started to bloom a bit and was picked. It was picked so that the plant can focus on growing as opposed to blooming at this point. The pepper plant...

After using all of the indoor compost to plant on my fire escape, I started a second batch. This went much smoother and I expect it to continue that way. Here are some of the lessons that I learned from my first go around: Don’t put too many greens in the compost When putting in the newspaper make sure it’s not in chunks. Separate the pieces. Don’t fill it up too much. It’ll make turning a chore With that in mind, I set up my indoor kitchen compost. Put down a layer of newspaper. Topped it with some soil. Covered...

First off, from what I can tell there is no difference between potting soil, potting mix and transplant mix. It’s all the same thing just different names. The reason that you want to use potting soil is that it allows for aeration and water to flow. If you use traditional soil in a self watering container, the roots would get too compact and not be able to grow. That’s no bueno. Of course it isn’t that simple, there are different kinds of potting soil. There is one that is peat moss based and one that is coconut coir...