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...

It’s been a bit over a week since I planted my upside down herb garden on my fire escape again. I planted them in soda bottles that were recycled into the upside down planters. The results are the same though. Death. So unless I am doing something horribly wrong, I wouldn’t recommend building and using this contraption to grow your herbs. The first time I planted them, the herbs died quickly as well. It could’ve been because the soil was too heavy or because of my not so gentle hands. So I decided it was time to give...

Last month, I was nervous that I killed my lettuces when I harvested them. Luckily for me, the lettuces were fine and grew again. So now, here I am one month later and facing a similar situation. I’ve gotten about 4-5 harvests from this container of lettuce and it’s starting to show. I’m not sure if this lettuce better days are behind it or if it still has some fight left. I went to Trina from Silver Heights Farm and asked her what she thought since she is who I bought them from. She said that they still be good for...

I was at my Grandmother’s one day and talking to one of her friends about gardening. We got talking about compost, so I mentioned the indoor composting set up in my kitchen. She said that she’d blend up the food scraps and put them in her composting bin when she kept one. That’s a great idea and not sure why I never thought of it. Especially since my composting mistake. By putting the food scraps in a blender or food processor, it helps to break the it down. Then when it’s put in the compost bin, it’s closer...

Once your lettuce grows to be about 4-6 inches, you can safely harvest it and it will grow back again. To harvest, simply place your thumb and pointer fingers about 2 inches above the soil and snap off the leaf. Place in your harvesting basket and continue. It’ll likely take a week or so for your crop to grow again for another harvest. ...

In case you are new or couldn’t tell at this point, I am new to this gardening thing. Just taking things as they come. The one thing that I do know (I think) is that when plants start to flower, they are coming near the end of their productive lives. So I was a bit concerned, when my basil plants began flowering so early. What’s a man to do when his basil plant is coming to it’s end? I did what anyone else would do these days…I asked my peoples on Twitter. Luckily for me, master gardener Teresa O’Connor of...

Since I am gardening in such a small space, I need to make sure that I am maximizing every inch possible. When I was doing my initial research, I came across the Instructable on upside down hanging planters. Perfect for my fire escape and for this project. Using recycled materials, so it’s inexpensive and efficient. They are also easy to make. Tools and materials 2L soda bottle Duct tape Razor Hole puncher Thick twine or thin rope Instructions on how to make an upside vegetable planter Use razor to cut off bottom third or...

I finally got around to starting my upside down herb garden after killing it last month. Since the first go around was such a success, I decided to take it slowly this time and just planted some parsley. Here’s a step by step as to how I planted the parsley upside down in my herb garden. I stress “gently” because I was anything but in the first go round. Gently separate out one of the parsley plants. Gently place into the container. Feed through and gently pull through the bottom. Pat down the soil. Fill container with...