Gerard Lordahl Gets Your Gardens Growing

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gerard Lordahl, Greening Director of GrowNYC, gives tips and advice on planting summer gardens and how to make the most of the summer growing season.

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


Gerard Lordahl

Comments [22]

I have overgrown ornamental grass in a backyard in brooklyn and am worried for neighbors about what lives in it. it's huge. I know that summer is not the time to cut back but how would I go about pruning it or controlling it so that it is not a completely dark spot in the garden

Jul. 02 2013 08:41 AM

@"Deirdre from UES, NYC" (12:45 PM):

"a FIRE ESCAPE is for emergency escape from fire and must be kept clear at ALL times."

Amen to that!

Thank you for this most germane exhortation.

"if you see others violating this law, either remind them (and check to see that they follow through) or report them to the Fire Dept."

If at all possible, isn't it only right and decent to at least /try/ going to people directly first, before reporting them to any authorities?

Jun. 23 2013 12:27 PM

What does Mr. Lopate have against squirrels?

They're cute. Almost as cute as boys...(an inside reference that will no doubt be recognized by those for whom it was intended... )

I wonder how many people recall when LL acknowledged, in a cavalier fashion, that in spite of all that had come-out about the horrible cruelty behind the production of foie grois, he continued to consume it as before, with no qualms whatsoever.

Jun. 21 2013 02:52 PM
Alvin from Metuchen, NJ

Coffee grounds will increase the acidic level of your soil if you sprinkle it in potted plants. Great for evergreen not so great for others.

Metal for a bamboo barrier?
Use a thick plastic barrier specifically made to contain bamboo roots. It's sold in rolls.

Jun. 21 2013 12:45 PM
Deirdre from UES, NYC

One of your callers mentioned as a side issue that she was thinking of keeping her proposed compost container on the fire escape.
The name should tell one that a FIRE ESCAPE is for emergency escape from fire and must be kept clear at ALL times.
That means no plants,jutting air conditioners,garden gnomes or compost containers.
Further, if you see others violating this law, either remind them (and check to see that they follow through) or report them to the Fire Dept.
This is a life-or-death matter!

Jun. 21 2013 12:45 PM

Lettuce can grow well - even when it's hot. It needs rich composty soil and sufficient (often lots) of water. If you have a really sunny spot - use some shade cloth, remay or some other shade producing invention to lesson the glare. They grow FAST in the heat so start some seeds for the next batch every 3 weeks.

Jun. 21 2013 12:43 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Some eco-paper makers use bamboo fibers. I have no idea if they buy from small local growers, but it might be worth checking into (in addition to Leonard's idea of food skewers!).

Jun. 21 2013 12:41 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Tell Bamboo guy to get himself a couple of pandas. They love it.

Jun. 21 2013 12:40 PM

I'm a constant gardener and there's still time to plant lettuce, beans, cukes, summer squash, zukes, carrots, parsley, cilantro, dill, swiss chard, beets and many more...right now. It's not too late to start a garden - even if it's in a sack or any container on your porch. Get a few sacks of potting soil or top soil and go for it!

Jun. 21 2013 12:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I agree w/Erin (except I use chip bags or the inner bags from cereal boxes--they're not recyclable, but this way at least they get reused once), & I'd add that you can take the plastic bags to many supermarkets for recycling...after you've reused them as much as possible!

Jun. 21 2013 12:35 PM
Estelle from Austin

How successfully can one maintain an orange tree in a large pot? (Clementine, in case that matters.)

Jun. 21 2013 12:33 PM
Patricia from Westchester

An excellent remedy for poison ivy is Tecnu.

Jun. 21 2013 12:32 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Ken, some worms may not be native to this area, but others certainly are. You can ask the suppliers where their worms come from. I doubt worms would escape from closed-bin worm composting in apts. or houses. 1st, there's no good habitat for them inside the home except the compost bin, & 2nd, unless you're exceedingly sloppy, there's no food out in the open to attract them away from the scraps you're feeding them inside the bin.

Jun. 21 2013 12:32 PM
Alvin from Metuchen, NJ

Wouldn't sawdust in your compost increase the acid level?

Jun. 21 2013 12:32 PM
Erin from Nyc

Bring compost in paper bags, not plastic as Gerard just said, and you don't have to remove the frozen compost from the bag. Saves time.

Jun. 21 2013 12:32 PM
Sara from Brooklyn

Also, under the heading "take care of the gardener" - when was your last tetanus shot? Make sure it's up to date (and make sure you can answer "when" should you find yourself in the ER...)

Jun. 21 2013 12:30 PM
Alvin from Metuchen, NJ


You don't necessary need to wait for the fall to transplant a tree. All you need to do is remove all the leaves to reduce shock and concentrate the energy back to the roots. It's a very old Japanese technique which I just used on my 14FT Japanese maple.

Jun. 21 2013 12:27 PM
Sue from NJ

Re: soil testing - listeners in NJ should reach out to extension at Rutgers, not Cornell

Jun. 21 2013 12:26 PM
Amy from Manhattan

You may also not be able to compost some supposedly compostable/biodegradable packaging. I brought some packages from Suncups (chocolate sunflower butter cups for people w/peanut allergies, but they're good even if you're not allergic!), which say they're compostable, to the Greenmarket, & the person at the compost table said they biodegrade too slowly to work in their compost piles & are suitable for composting only in industrial-size operations. How can people know if packaging and other items, like bags, that are labeled "Compostable" or "Biogradable" can be composted at local collection sites or in citywide composting when it's available?

Jun. 21 2013 12:22 PM
Paul from UWS NYC


I am concerned about the polllution, particularily particulates, over time entering the soil of my terrace tomatoes. Are heavy metals filtered by the soil?

also, do earth worms survive fertilizer application?

Jun. 21 2013 12:15 PM
James from NJ

Leonard, can you ask Gerard 1.) how he keeps white moths away from leafy greens, mustards, etc. (mine end up looking like Swiss cheese); and, 2.) how to keep chipmunks out of the garden (they absolutely love my strawberries and tomatoes)?

Jun. 21 2013 12:14 PM
Ken from NJ

Please do not recommend worms without explaining the down side. Worms are not native, and there is a huge problem with Asian worms that escaped form bait. Plants are falling out of the ground from soil disturbance. Worms are not always good, in fact, never.

Jun. 21 2013 12:14 PM

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