Hot Horticulture

Friday, August 08, 2008

New York’s gardeners often have to get creative with limited space, making the best of fire escapes, roofs, and tiny spaces that get little sun or wind. Horticulturist Gerard Lordahl of the CENYC’s Open Space Greening Program answers your questions about gardening in the New York area. Leave a comment or call us at 646-778-3729.


Gerard Lordahl

Comments [22]

Greg Brown

We live in a heavily wooded area in Putnam County with plenty of deer. We have been using a small strobe light and a portable radio tuned to WNYC aimed at the garden all night. I'm not sure which one the deer don't like more, but they have been staying well away from our garden.

kent, NY

Aug. 08 2008 12:38 PM
Adele Gallo from Syosset, ny

We have had a mock orange bush for about 8 years. We have waited and waited for blossoms, even cut back a nearby tree to assure adequate sun. Two years ago we got TWO blossoms! Last year THREE. This year FOUR.
Is there hope for this bush? I am losing patience.
Thanks a bunch.

Aug. 08 2008 12:36 PM
Jennifier from Midtown

what was that comment about not feeding children under 6 leafy vegetables? i didn't quite hear and missed the reason why. (isn't organic ok?)

Aug. 08 2008 12:34 PM
cp from ny

I've had cucumber beetles all summer. They killed all my cucumber plants and spread disease to my zucchini and squash. I pick them off my plants for an hour every night. It's not enough - what do I do!?

Aug. 08 2008 12:31 PM
Julia from manhattan

What are the best things to grow in a small Manhattan apartment with decent sunlight?

Aug. 08 2008 12:31 PM
Avery from Manhattan

Could you talk about indoor worm composting bins? I'd like to start one, but my teenager is concerned that we'll end up with a disgusting mess in our kitchen.

Aug. 08 2008 12:30 PM
chris van dyke from washington heights

Where are community gardens in northern manhattan? I live at 161st between b'way and amsterdam

Aug. 08 2008 12:29 PM
Karen from Chappaqua, NY

Another suggestion:

Deer are not the only problem. You may need to run chicken wire around the bottom of your deer fence to keep out rabbits and raccoons. We have an 8 foot deer fence that has successfully protected our garden against deer, but the bunnies were invading until we put up the chicken wire.

Aug. 08 2008 12:28 PM
Karen from Chappaqua, NY

To Carol:

Mint needs alot of water. Our mint died after we put a french drain in our front lawn, which was constantly flooded. Try planting your mint in a wetter environment, or water more often. Also -- watch out for imperialistic mint. The mint that we planted in our window boxes invaded and destroyed the oregano.

Aug. 08 2008 12:27 PM
barry from Manhattan

Use a Drip System with a timer. Saves water easy to set up and you can target the roots, also it runs itself.

Aug. 08 2008 12:26 PM
Karen from Chappaqua, NY

MILDEW: Fellow Chappaqua resident, this is exactly what happened to my cukes and zukes last summer, when we were sprinkling. Why are you watering this summer? It's raining every damned day!

Aug. 08 2008 12:23 PM
Mary Gutmann from Morgantown, WV

I have mystery cucumbers on my porch. They are at least 18 inches long, thin, dark green and ribbed with little sharp spines that rub off. They are the best I have ever tasted and I don't know where they came from. They have only tiny seeds, how do I keep the seeds to replant?

Aug. 08 2008 12:23 PM
chris van dyke from washington heights

I have a small roof, and have a great herb garden. Two questions:

1. I can grow every herb except for cilantro. After my first harvest, it grows back thin and weak, then goes to seed. How can I get it as lush and thick as my parsley/basil etc?

2. What are some vegitables that grow well in boxes and planters?

Aug. 08 2008 12:23 PM
Melissa Draugsvold from Rockaway Beach,NY

Hey, I am getting rot on the bottom of all my tomatoes! I read this is due to extreme water there anything I can do to prevent the loss of fruit? Thanks,M

Aug. 08 2008 12:23 PM
chris from nyc

I bought some lovely fragrant basil at a local farmer's market but when I transplanted it, it lost all it's fragrance -- any suggestions? Thanks

Aug. 08 2008 12:23 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

the UMass link Gerard mentioned for soil testing is at

Aug. 08 2008 12:19 PM
Carol from Brooklyn

I have tried to grow mint several times. The plant (from the Greenmarket) keels over and dies within a few weeks of my putting it in the ground. It gets a couple of hours of sun in that spot. I water when needed. I remember in my mother's garden, the mint was so successful that it became a weed. What am I doing wrong?
Mintless in the Slope

Aug. 08 2008 12:14 PM
Hugh from Crown Heights

How does city pollution affect organic growing in the city (runoff, airborne contaminants, heavy metals, etc.)?

Aug. 08 2008 12:12 PM
Bob Roistacher from Morningside Heights

We'd be pleased to tell your listeners that we have gardening plots available from the West 111th Street People's Garden, across from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Our website is (Be sure to put your contact information in the body of your message to us.)

Aug. 08 2008 12:11 PM
exlege from brooklyn

my wife and I are looking into sustainable farming in upsate new york. Please ask the guest to comment on the viability (economics) of small scale sustainable farming.

Aug. 08 2008 12:11 PM
Karen from Chappaqua, NY

We have a very wet garden; Westchester wetlands; we grow our veggies in 12' X 4' raised boxes. The lettuces, cucumbers and tomatoes are doing fine, and the peppers have begun to come in, but our zucchini and yellow squash flowered, but did not produce vegetables. Is this possibly because of all the rain, and can we do anything to encourage production?

Aug. 08 2008 12:10 PM
Liz from Brooklyn

what about lead in the soil? how can i get rid of it? can i plant vegetables directly in my garden? what do i do?

Aug. 08 2008 12:09 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.