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...

After planting the kale and lettuce the other day, I still had some plants left over to get in the dirt. I built two more self-watering containers, which was enough for two of the kale plants. Still had dandelions and lettuces left and was running out of space. Since the cinder block garden was working out so well, I turned over some more cinder blocks and planted the dandelion in there. That left me with the lettuces. My grandmother had some traditional pots leftover, so I reluctantly put some of the lettuces in them (because we all...

Since I harvested all of my celery last week, I had two containers that were empty. I wound up planting kale and lettuce in those containers. Having the gardening itch and fall already upon us, I had to plant something. In the one container I had a few celery plants. Some of the roots were still in the soil. When planting the kale, I did my best to plant around the roots. The other container that had the celery had a single plant in it, but the root was pretty large. The lettuces were planted around the large root. Not sure if the roots...

There’s a lot out there on the importance of testing the pH balance of your soil in order to grow healthy vegetables. I wasn’t interested in buying some fancy pH test kit or something like that. CleanAirGardening had a post a few weeks ago titled, “Dare you taste your soil?” It was about how they used to test the pH levels of their soil back in the day – by tasting it. I took it as a personal challenge and test tasted my soil. No, I didn’t taste the soil of the cherry tomatoes that I urinated on. The...

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...