I learned a good lesson about planting herbs together in the same container. It’s not best to do so. Similar to planting celery in the same container – nothing horrible will happen, but the herbs won’t grow as well. When I first planted them in my backyard vegetable garden in Brooklyn, the herbs were planted two to a container. It just happened to work out that my grandmother had just enough containers to accommodate that, and I didn’t want to buy any more. So they were planted based on what I thought tasted well...

Learned my first lesson about planting celery during my first harvest. It’s definitely best to plant a celery plant per container. When I first planted the celery in my backyard vegetable garden, I planted in two containers. The first container had one plant in it and the second had several. I harvested them the other day and it’s apparent that celery plants like to be on their own. The one that was solo was much thicker and deeper color. The celery that was packed in was, um, pathetic. Ok, not pathetic just inferior. You...

There’s been a lot about urine in the news lately. Juan Manuel Marquez was saying that he was drinking his own urine leading up to his fight with Floyd Mayweather. As fascinating as that story is, the story that piqued my interest even more was the one about urinating on your tomatoes and how it can help to give you fruits four times larger. I decided to give it a go and urinated on my cherry tomato plant on my fire escape garden. Don’t worry before I started, I looked and gave a yell so no one got hit with some unexpected...

A few weeks ago I said that I wouldn’t recommend growing red peppers in small spaces because they weren’t productive. I might’ve spoken too soon because they are starting to bloom again and are showing a lot of buds. I’m wondering if I should’ve harvested the others earlier, which would’ve allowed these to come through. It’s started to get cold here fast with it reaching the low 70s during the day and 50s at night. That’s making me wonder if the peppers will be able to survive in this cold...

Photos from the week: It’s been a while since I gave an overview on both of the urban gardens, so thought now was a good time. I’ll start with my backyard vegetable garden in Brooklyn. Changed the layout due to my Grandmother’s excessive sprinkler use. Harvested my first cucumbers. Got two of them. Planted some kales and more arugula. Sweet pepper plant is starting to fruit more. On my fire escape vegetable garden: The cherry tomato plant continues to grow, but still producing. Harvested about a half dozen more...

Received an email from another reader, Annie from Washington DC, that wanted to start her own urban garden. She had the space on her deck that got plenty of sun. Her concern was that it was too late in the season. She had a few questions and concerns, but just told her to stop worrying and to start growing her vegetable garden. So I challenged her to get it done. Since she’s not one to back down from a challenge, she showed me up and planted some herbs and vegetables on her deck. A few days later, I got an email from her with the...

Posted on Sep 14 2009 - 3:45am by Mike Lieberman
#7

At the advice of Trina from Silver Height Farm where I buy my plants from, she recommended the Pablo Head Lettuce. I bought a 6-cell pack and got them all in there. Each cell contained a few plants that I separated out. They were planted about 3-4 inches apart. When planting these I noticed that the soil was pretty shallow, maybe 2-3 inches at some points. This could be a reason why the onions didn’t get to be very large. At other spots the soil was about 4-6 inches. Either way, it should be good for the lettuce. I’m hoping...

Three cucumbers have started to come through on my cucumber plant, so I needed to relocate it to another part of the garden for better support. I moved it closer to the fence where I was able to train it up with some string. I was pretty happy to see the cucumbers since the leaves at the bottom have been drying out and dying. They were picked off and the cucumber trellis that I made was readjusted and tightened. After the trellis was tightened, the plant had to be propped back up on it and secured to the fence. Now I’m hoping that...

Now that I’m a bit more comfortable with this urban gardening, I’m starting to see things a bit differently. I look at things and think, “how can I use that to plant something?” In walking around my neighborhood, the East Village, I saw something that really struck my eye. It was a cinder block turned on it’s side with some plants in it. Cinder blocks wouldn’t work on my fire escape garden, but definitely would work in my backyard garden, especially since my grandmother already has cinderblocks. They...

Three months after starting my fire escape garden, I was finally able to harvest my red peppers. I harvested a grand total of two red peppers with the possibility of some more. Yes, it was rewarding and felt great to put them in my salad, but I was hoping for more. If you are gardening in a small space and looking for productivity, I wouldn’t recommend planting red peppers. I’d either experiment with something else or plant something that is productive like lettuces or greens. For those of you with more space to grow, then...

The stories about the tomato blight are all over the news, including this op-ed piece in the New York Times, “You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster.” To my understanding it is an airborne fungus that wipes out tomato and potato crops. This year it’s affecting tomatoes hard. From what I’ve read, the way it started this is year can be traced to the big businesses such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Home Depot. They buy their plants from industrial farms down South, which had the outbreak. These plants were then shipped...

I received an email from a reader this week, Mariann from Arizona. She’s planted some herbs and vegetables for the first time. Since her 13 year old son was learning about planting and germinating at school, she saw it as a way for them to bond and share the experience. They’ve planted tomatoes, cucumber, basil, oregano and sunflower seeds. To me that’s just awesome. In our correspondences with each other, Mariann had a lot of questions and expressed how nervous she was. After some back and forth of questions and...

I’m back “home” in Philly this week visiting friends that I haven’t seen in a while. My old roommate and I got to talking about the gardening thing. He dropped a comment saying that I should read some books on gardening and stop with all the experimentation. If I were to do that, then I’d still be reading books, get overwhelmed with unnecessary info and likely get frustrated and just give up. Which is I’m sure has happened to some of you if you’ve even gotten that far. What did people do hundreds...

When I first started to plan my fire escape garden I thought that cherry tomatoes would work perfectly. Cherry tomatoes are small, so the plant would be small as well. Now that summer weather has finally hit the NY and the plant is starting to grow, it’s gotten to be pretty tall. It’s about a half of a foot taller than me and I’m a giant. I’ve had to get creative with the way that I’ve been supporting them. I am not sure if it’s the kind that I’m growing, Anna Aasa, or it’s just the nature...

I won’t be posting this week because I’m going to be working on redoing the site to be more user friendly. I’ll resume back to regular posting next week. I know it will be rough for you during this time, not knowing how my lettuce are doing or if my cucumber plant is blooming. Just deal with it. I’ll holla atcha next week. I ...

The idea of the hanging garden planter using a soda bottle came after my unsuccessful attempts at upside down vegetable gardening. One of my readers, Craig Stanton, left a comment saying that I should put the cap back on and grow the vegetables out of the top. That seems so obvious, but I didn’t think of it at all and they’re also easy to make. These hanging garden planters are a great low cost way to start your own home vegetable garden. You can hang them in a window, on your balcony or anywhere that gets sunlight. I was...

The lettuce in my self watering containers have bolted. I needed to figure out how to remove them from the containers, so I can plant another round of vegetables. I’ve read of two different ways of removing the bolted plants. The first is to remove the plant from the root. The other is to cut the plant at the soil line. To find out which way was better, I decided to do both to see the results. In the containers that there were no other plants, I pulled them from the roots. The containers that contained other plants, I cut at the...

It’s been a few weeks since I planted my cucumber plant. It was starting to grow outside of the container, which is a good thing (at least it ain’t dying). So I built a cucumber trellis for it using mostly recycled materials. Tools and materials: Old poles put out by someone for garbage. You can use anything that is sturdy enough and stands upright such as tree branches, old crutches or broom sticks. Strong tape to tape the poles to the container. String to tie around the poles and make the trellis. Scissors Steps to...

I planted some kale and swiss chard out on my fire escape because there is no doubt that my lettuce died and weren’t growing any more. Before I planted the kale and chard, I had to prepare the soil in the self watering container first. The dead remains of the lettuce were removed and some of my indoor compost was added to the soil and mixed in. Even though I only bought one cell of each, there were many plants in the cells. There were about 3-4 plants in each. I separated them out, but still bunched them together when planting....

I learned a valuable lesson in gardening (and life) this week, it doesn’t pay to be lazy. A few weeks ago, I transferred my celery into a new self watering container and didn’t poke a hole to allow for water drainage. Sure enough with all of the rain that we’ve been getting here, the bucket became nearly submerged under water. The celery was getting water logged and starting to die off. Celery drinks a lot of water, but not that much. I had to poke a drainage hole in the container to allow the water to drain out and...