A few weeks back, I posted saying that all my cucumber flowers were falling offand thought it was because they weren’t getting pollinated. People were saying that this is common on cucumber plants and that they are usually a sausage party with more male flowers than female. I’ve also added a bit of coffee grinds to the soil and watered them in as well. The good news is now I have definite female flowers with cucumbers behind them. The bad news is that the first cucumber that emerged is slightly yellowing and the flower appears...

I received a message from Lica who checks out this blog. She lives in Brooklyn and doesn’t have any space to grow, so she’s been experimenting using hyrdoculture, not hydroponics. There is a difference and she explains it on her blog. She contacted me, told me about what she was doing and offered to send some to me to experiment with. Always down to experiment with new things, I figga’d why not. The package consisted of: A-OK Rockwool Starter Plugs Hydrotron Nutrient solutions that she kindly informed me weren’t...

Maria Rodale recently wrote post on her Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen blog titled A Harvest of Healing. It was a beautifully written post about how there is more to gardening than just the harvest. The harvest is great, but it’s not everything. The one quote from the post that stuck with me was: With gardening, we harvest more than food and flowers; we harvest health and healing. She goes on to talk about the physical aspects that are involved in gardening – weeding, planting, carrying water, shoveling. So gardening helps...

The project of using a shipping palette to make an herb garden is one that I originally saw on Instructables. The concept is that you water the top plant and it drains through to the plant below that and then to the plant below that. I followed the basic steps steps that were laid out there. You are supposed to drill the neck of the bottle through the top part of the bottle below it. The palette that I had the slats weren’t close enough and the bottles weren’t long enough, so I had to adapt. Here is what I did and what was...

It’s been almost two months since I started to test the soil amendments in my container garden. I was testing using manure tea versus using regular compost. I had two cucumber plants that I had started from seeds. In looking at the two containers, it’s hard to make a definitive statement on which works better. If you were just to look at the containers, you’d think that the regular compost was performing better since it’s a larger plant and has more flowers. If you were to take a closer look at the plants, you...

Last week it was in the news that a Georgia man was fined $5,000 for growing too much food in his backyard garden. He’s been growing on his land for 15 years and growing food was the reason for him buying the land. He’s been selling some of his excess produce at the local farmers market and giving it to neighbors as well. The reason for him receiving the fine is that it is illegal to grow that much food for the zone that he is in. I understand that it is illegal, but how is it legal for it to be illegal to grow food? Yet it’s...

I harvested the first carrots from my container garden on my balcony. The carrots were way too tiny. They were planted over four months ago in the beginning of May. I thought that this would be plenty of time for them to grow. On the outside the carrot tops were showing and looked great, but when I harvested my first carrot it was mad small about an inch and very thin. I harvested two more carrots. One was a bit fatter, but still very tiny. After I planted the carrot seeds, I didn’t do much beyond watering them. I think this might...

Posted on Sep 17 2010 - 3:49am by Mike Lieberman
#16

The flowers on my cucumber plants are falling. For the most part, they appear to be doing well on my balcony garden. They are continuing to grow up the tomato cages, but none have set any fruit, just fallen leaves. I think this might be because of a pollination issue. I really haven’t seen many bees in and or around my balcony to pollinate the flowers. In looking closer at the flowers, there are definitely a lot of male flowers, but no female flowers. You can tell a female flower because it has fruit behind the flower. So I might...

I have already given you plenty of reasons to start growing your own food and am gonna give you another. In reading an article on Grist.org about urban agriculture, I learned that, “If some sort of natural disaster or terrorist attack were to shut down New York City’s food supply chain, our supermarket shelves would reportedly be picked clean within three days. Other U.S. cities aren’t any better prepared for such emergencies, thanks to our fuelish dependence on a globalized food system.” That is pretty nuts. I...

Hard to believe that it’s the middle of September already. That means that it’s time to start planting your fall vegetables. Ok, it’s been time to plant your fall vegetables, but now it’s really time. The best thing to plant in the fall, especially if you are container gardening, are greens. Lots of greens. They will survive the slight chill, you will be able to pack them into the containers and you will get the most food from them. Greens are also great if you only have access to a shady area, which is all I...

We know that you need to feed your plants and amend the soil in your container garden. Here is a quick how to on amending the soil. You’ll need the following: Container that is free of plants Cultivator Compost Water How to amend the soil: Use your cultivator to break up the soil Add some compost to the container Work the compost into the soil Water the container and let it drain through Your container is now ready for the next round of planting. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIv2lkvxX2A ...

“Garden Writers Today” is a website (www.digplantgrow.com) for garden writers (duh) that’s been created to help the garden writing community. More importantly, it’s been created to help the readers of gardening websites, which is even more important. They wrote to me and other garden writers across the web asking, “What Can ‘Garden Writers Today’ Do For Me?” Since the main reason that I keep this blog is for you to help encourage and inspire you to start growing your own food, I pass along...

I’ve made another gardening mistake. This time I didn’t separate the plants when transplanting them into the containers on my balcony garden. When I did my first round of planting on my balcony, I popped the plants out of the plastic and just planted them into the container. This seemed like a good idea, but wasn’t. There were about 4-5 plants per bunch. They grew for a bit and I was able to harvest a salad from them, but they were growing very slow and having some other problems. Initially the plants were taking a while...

One of the things that I was most surprised during my trip to Costa Rica was how little the restaurants used locally grown produce. It became even more apparent to me how we have lost touch with our food. There were coconut trees nearly everywhere that you could turn. Yet it was impossible to go into a restaurant and get fresh coconut water. Some of the restaurants actually had signs saying that they were out of coconut water. All they had to do was go outside and pick up a coconut off the ground. The trees were steps outside of their...

Nearly all of my urban gardens have self-watering containers in them. They work great on a balcony, fire escape or any other space that doesn’t have soil. If you’re still trying to figure out what you can grow in small/medium sized container, check out this site for a list of plants and seeds that grow well in containers. Self-watering containers are different...

I am going away on vacation and this will be my last post until August 30, 2010. Please do your best to get by without me. I have been thinking about changing the focus of this blog to include more about the importance of growing your own food. For the past year plus this blog has been about growing your own food and how to do so, which it still will include. I want to write and discuss more about the importance of growing our own food, what’s involved in it, the growing, harvesting, sharing, preparing and still focus on the how...

One of the questions that people frequently ask me is revolved around the health concerns of growing in the plastic containers. Is it safe to grow in plastic containers? Is it leaching harmful toxins into the soil, water, plants and eventually my body. I honestly have no clue, nor do I claim to. I think there is a valid concern in those beliefs and generally avoid...

Now that I’ve remembered to amend the soil in my container garden, I’m going to be running a side-by-side test of soil amendments. Here is the test that I’m going to run. I have two cucumber containers on my balcony garden. In one of them, I have amended the soil with straight compost. The other container I have watered with the cow manure tea that I brewed up. The plant that I used the cow manure tea already started out slightly smaller than the other, but I want to test and see if the manure tea help to promote better...

I am making cow manure tea to use as a soil amendment in my container garden. I’m brewing cow manure tea from Authentic Haven Brand. The brewing process will take 1-3 days to complete. You’ll need the following: One five-gallon container filled with water Bag of cow manure tea bag Towel or cloth to keep the bugs out You just need to drop the tea bag into the bucket of water and let it steep for 1-3 days until it looks golden brown. Put a cloth over the top of it if you are keeping it outside to keep the bugs out. For more...

One of the mistakes that I made last year was not feeding my plants and amending the soil in my container garden. When you first plant the potting soil that you use should likely have all the compost, nutrients and minerals for the plant to initially survive, but over time the plant will use these up and they will deplete. If you were growing in the ground, the soil would likely take care of itself with the worms and everything that’s going on underground. I was a having a discussion with someone the other day about this and it makes...