Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Sixpoint Rooftop Garden

One of my most exciting personal urban gardening projects is the rooftop at my boyfriend's brewery, Sixpoint Craft Ales. It was already hardscaped with decking, built in benches, a bar and an arbor. This is a view of the arbor.

Last year I started a hop farm for the arbor, with a different strain of hops at each support post. These are planted in whiskey barrels accompanied by different ornamental grasses. The race is on and Centennial has taken the lead, Cascade is a close second!

Mmmm... puddle water!

The only real problem is the three cats that live at the brewery, who like to poop in my planters. Someone in my Rock Garden club said that cats don't like mushroom compost. So I am trying to find someone who sells it locally - it is the medium the mushrooms were grown on, not actual mushrooms. My next option is to post the cats on Craig's List as "Free Cats"!

Urban gardens

This amazing metal planter was scavenged by my old roomie, Rita, and I, on our very industrial block in Bushwick. The super said it was used to catch pieces of fabric as they were cut on big machines. I used it as a planter for various house plants in our apartment. Now it has been relocated to my rooftop garden in Red Hook, where it is a temporary home to last years' skeletal zinnia pots... Soon it will be a rock garden!

I have found some other really clever urban gardening solutions... The Leopoldo City Garden is a very clever design consisting of a recyclable aluminum structure that supports flexible black growing trays of waterproof artificial raffia. It has wheels and comes flat in a bag for easy transport... Brilliant!

Another solution, reminds me of the sand table in nursery school, is the Horturbà (Urban Garden). Made of galvanized steel, it comes equipped with a drain valve and a drip irrigation system!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The latest seed pics!!!

Once again, the beans win the race! Who can compete with the overachieving legume family? If you suffer from any sort of self-doubt or insecurity, grow some beans, they will make you feel like you can do anything! These are purple runner beans, a beautiful vine, more decorative than edible, but who needs function when you can have fabulous!?!

I had to have a serious pep talk with my sunflowers... they reminded me of whinnie-the-pooh with the honey jar stuck on his head...

So I did the unthinkable and picked off the seed casings... I couldn't help myself, it had to be done.

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. "

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I was a little nervous to leave the bitty seedlings for the weekend, so I gave them lots of water and left the covers off...

These are basil, Japanese climbing cucumber and some different varieties of zinnia...

and here are some sunflowers in the foreground... Yes I am going to try to grow sunflowers on the roof top! Could be dangerous!

A little bulbous surprise in the front garden...

The front garden currently looks absolutely terrible enough for its "before" shot! Regard:

The landlord is renovating the lowest level, so those are some bags of the rubble. And one night, in the twilight hours, I was manic and started to hack back the sidewalk side of the privet hedge. I only got so far as the fence to the neighbors before the light gave out and I gave up to a potential blister on my thumb (no gloves!)

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I put these seeds in on Thursday before I left work, thinking they would be warm and germinate over the weekend. When I got in on Monday...

Hyacinth bean and moonflower busting through!

This is Mina Lobata - an amazing blooming annual vine that I LOVE!

So I decided it was time for some more light and they moved from the front office window to the gro-light in the back of the other office.

I have to get my buddy Bob, some sunglasses, since the light is practically over his desk! Bob and I scored a shared plot in the community garden in our neighborhood, Clinton Hill, in Brooklyn. He's in charge of weeding! Thanks Bob!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I was very excited to start some seeds at work yesterday! I am going to use a light set-up there and get a timer so it will go on and off automatically. Believe it or not, seed starting soil is very difficult to find in Manhattan (Jiffy peat pots were the closet I could find, and they never work for me) so my sweet boyfriend brought me a bag at work that he got out in Brooklyn.

I think I must have sounded a little bit stressed out about the urgency of starting these seeds before the weekend because he also brought me this:

(those are lotus pods!)

I was able to get my seeds in dirt and they are germinating over the weekend. On Monday I will put them under the lights! I planted a whole lot of different peppers, cucumbers, gourds, flowers... 2 trays worth! Then I got home and found a secret stash of seeds here! So I'll do another tray on Monday...

My co-worker, Jose, found a box of bulbs that didn't get planted last fall, so I took the daffodils. They've been sitting withering on our dining table for a couple of weeks (hoping they would not go to the compost heap), so I planted them in an old plant box on the fire escape that the former tenant had left behind. First I mixed in a bunch of sandy soil from an old succulent pot so they don't get too wet and turn to mush.

Incentive: if you grow and bloom, I will transplant you into the front garden!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Springtime Magic

An amazing harbinger of spring, Bloodroot is usually a woodland native... imagine my surprise when I came across this little patch at The Arbor House, a bed and breakfast where we spent the night in Madison Wisconsin last weekend. The Arbor House is an amazing little eco-inn, a model for urban ecology.

When bloodroot first emerges, often busting through the leaf litter as in this photo, the single leaf is wrapped around the white flower bud. Slowly it unfurls to present a perfect little white flower with a golden center...

It truly is the little things that make life great!

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson