Green Thumb Gerard Lordahl

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gerard Lordahl, Greening Director of GrowNYC, gives tips and advice on planting summer gardens.

If you have questions about planting, pruning, picking, or pest prevention, leave a comment or call 212-433-9692!


Gerard Lordahl

Comments [29]

Leah from Brooklyn

To the woman with the tomato plant in her living-room that flowers but doesn't make fruit: Your plant might not be getting pollinated since it is indoors away from insects. I had the same issue, and carefully pollinated the flowers with a small, soft paintbrush. Sounds weird, but I got my tomatoes!

Jun. 15 2012 01:03 PM
Suzanne from Manhattan

I would like to ask Mr. Lordahl to please reconsider about recommending mothballed. They are one of the most dangerous household chemicals ever made and should be used in anyway by humans. Thank you for your consideration. I support your grow NYC programs.

Jun. 15 2012 12:41 PM
Capper from NYC

Why no leafy veges to kids under 6?

Jun. 15 2012 12:39 PM
g in staten island from staten island

Does diatomacious earth harm earthworms?

Jun. 15 2012 12:34 PM
Julie from Port Washington, NY

What are good mulches to use for flower gardens?

Jun. 15 2012 12:33 PM

My evergreen and dogwood trees were sprayed with hot water by a careless power washer and are browned out where the water made contact. The lower half of the trees now appear dead. Is there anything that can be done to help these plants survive?

Jun. 15 2012 12:32 PM
linda from li

I put veggies scraps in a blender with water and pour into a hole in the garden.

Jun. 15 2012 12:28 PM
Alice from Williamsburg

Roof gardens and feeding kids with kale is great but how about all the exhaust in the Bronx and elsewhere. Doesn't this affect the food grown in New York City out of doors?

Jun. 15 2012 12:27 PM
stefano from 11206

for squirrels I blend fresh red habanero chilies and garlic and let it sit overnight filter the solution add 2 drops of sishsoap and spray the plants. I noticed squirrels are a problem in early spring when they eat green buds / sprouts and maybe there is scarcity of food. in late spring they leave the plants alone. I would start seedlings indoors in the wider under a 27 W compact fluorescent light.

Jun. 15 2012 12:26 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

will vouch for the power of that greenmarket compost! we live in a small apartment, and can't use our own compost, but bring it weekly to the market for others to use. a friend uses what he gets from the greenmarket or LES ecology center in his garden in the west village, and it has made a huge difference that so-called grow formulas could never produce.

everyone can compost, and it makes a tremendous difference in what goes in the garbage/makes your kitchen smell. we use the bio bags in a covered container in the kitchen, and when we fill the bag, throw it in the freezer while awaiting our next market run. within a week, we might have three bags of compost materials, but feel really good sharing it with an org that makes it available to those with gardens!

Jun. 15 2012 12:24 PM
Joseph from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Congratulations on the compost recycling program. I've been dropping off my scraps at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket for about a year. It's very easy and The staff there is great. I freeze everything in quart-sized takeout containers, and drop it off about once a week. It also gives me a chance to shop at the Greenmarket once I'm done.

Jun. 15 2012 12:24 PM
Jack Cazes from New Hyde Park NY

My zucchini plant looks great but I always have a problem with the fruit. The end where the flower forms seems to rot and wilt. I've looked for worms and bugs can't seem to find anything abnormal. Help.

Jun. 15 2012 12:24 PM
Kristie from Manhattan

Last year I tried to grow string beans and zucchini in pots on my balcony (15th Fl.). The zucchini leaves got white spots and the few zucchini that grew seemed stunted, and the string beans got some sort of disease and withered. I thought being up that high I wouldn't have pests. What can I do to be more successful this year?

Jun. 15 2012 12:23 PM
stefano from Brooklyn NY

You can buy Diatomaceus Earth / Diatomite at Napa Auto. You may have to order it from the warehouse . They sell it as Oil / Dry. a large bag is about 12 $. It sold for oil spills It is a good soil amendment the particles the size of fine perlite.

For slugs coffee is a poison / deterrent
(I had found a scientific paper about this but need to search it.

caffeine and nicotine are toxic to many pests and plants developed these substances as a defense.

The systemic insecticide Imiclorprid / Merit has a molecule similar to caffeine

Jun. 15 2012 12:23 PM
Andy from bkln

how do you deal with weeds which are too hard to pull out without using toxic chemicals (aside from regular concerns about toxic weed killers, I am also concerned about the animals -squirrels, feral cats, etc. - ingesting anything toxic). Thanks

Jun. 15 2012 12:21 PM
guy from long island

My mother has yellow spots all over all the leaves on her pear tree. I heard it is caused by a parasite that comes from a juniper bush. Is the tree ok, is there anything we should do

Jun. 15 2012 12:19 PM
Zanne from Greenpoint

My neighbor and I have discussed the ivy growing around the tree in the street box. I say that the ivy around the base of the tree is not good for the tree. And what about the ivy going up the tree.

Jun. 15 2012 12:18 PM
Brooke from Brooklyn

I am a novice gardener, and have some insect that is attacking my sweet potato vine, hostas, and morning glory. I don't see any slime anywhere that would indicate slugs. They are making big holes in the middle of all the leaves.

Jun. 15 2012 12:16 PM
David from Scranton, PA

I have a container herb garden on a second floor covered porch. Everything is doing very well, but how do I get rid of white fly? One another topic, in the yard one side of the front steps everything grows mightily. On the other side, everything struggles. Basically same light and water. How best to build up soil in such an instance?

Jun. 15 2012 12:14 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

Please ask about how to keep squirrels out of window boxes. They destroyed half my seedlings this spring. I used netting until the seedlings put out a set of true leaves, but if I leave the netting on longer than that the plants get tangled up in it. Now, they are still digging in the boxes and ripping up the plants. (These are ornamentals, not edibles.)

Jun. 15 2012 12:14 PM
M. L. from Westchester County, NY

I have not had success growing things from seed in my garden. As soon as a seedling appears, something, possibly a squirrel, eats it. For example, I was pleased to see a scarlet runner bean I had planted finally produce one leaf. Next day: the seedling was gone from its pot. Is this normal??? Do I have to cover everything from wildlife and pests? I don't know how farmers do it!

Jun. 15 2012 12:13 PM
Capper from NYC

With all the rain, would he say the weather has been ripe for wild mushrooms?

Jun. 15 2012 12:13 PM
Jim Soviero from Red Bank, Nj

Groundhog repellent?

Jun. 15 2012 12:13 PM
Ann from northern manhattran

The tomato plant in the big planter in my living room window grew like Jack's beanstalk and seems to be doing beautifully, BUT every time it makes flowers, they sadly drop off, one-by-one, instead of turning into tomatoes. Please advise? Many THANKS!

Jun. 15 2012 12:12 PM
Pamela from Brooklyn

I have a problem with my White Birch tree. It looks like it is dying suddenly: it has turned brown. I noticed some very small black bugs on the bark. My local plant store said he has been seeing problems on his birch trees.


Jun. 15 2012 12:12 PM
Laurel Beck from Metuchen, NJ

I am growing raspberry canes in a large container. The plants were thriving, but just this morning I noticed a large number of leaves destroyed by small, white worms. Any idea what these pests are or how to control them? Thanks!

Jun. 15 2012 12:11 PM
Marnie from Brooklyn

Please discuss when and how to prune flowers before and after they bloom. Thanks.

Jun. 15 2012 12:08 PM
Catherine from Brooklyn

Help! Whiteflies are devouring the tomato plants on my deck.

Jun. 15 2012 12:08 PM
Debbie from Brooklyn

Tonight, I'm planting cherry tomatoes in a large pot in my balcony garden. Any specific tips?

Jun. 15 2012 12:06 PM

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