Urban Gardening

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gardening in New York City is easier than one might think. A well planned and maintained rooftop garden can be a source of beauty, relaxation and fresh vegetables. Learn the ins and outs of urban gardening and how you can get started using any space you have with blogger Kerry Trueman and urban "ag-tivisit" Adam Brock. Kerry’s blogs: Eating Liberally & Retrovore


Adam Brock and Kerry Trueman

Comments [17]

chris from NYC

Are Pidgeons a major problem?they hang out unsolicited on my window sill. Is there any window box/glass house type contraption out there-- as in window box protected by glass slanting top???? wouldnt that be a good idea??
Ditto on roof being out of bounds in my coop-
safety- peace of top floor residents- and damage-- are all sited with the mere mention of a roof garden.

Mar. 05 2009 01:07 PM
emily wasserman from fort greene

Like New Orleans, Brownstone Brooklyn has a garden district. It includes the leafy neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill & Prospect Heights. Every year we do a self-guided walking tour of community gardens and private gardens. It is a magnificent opportunity to see what goes on in those coveted backyards of Brooklyn's brownstones. Going on this tour gives people all kinds of ideas about what "gardening" means. The New York Stereoptic Society took photos of the past two tours and there will be a presentation of these pictures, a "Stereoscopic Garden Party" (3-D glasses and all!) on March 22nd at 5 at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene. For more info. go to For tkts go to all proceeds from the event go back into the Brownstone Brooklyn Garden District's efforts to support and enhance urban gardening. In the fall we do a free bulb give-away. In the late spring we do cutting exchanges.

Mar. 05 2009 01:03 PM
Shana from Brooklyn

This show was great. Vermicomposting is quite easy, done indoors, and does not take up much room. If you're not ready to compost yourself and want to bring scraps to collection spots, it can be helpful to keep a bag in the freezer for the scraps until you have enough to bring in.

Mar. 05 2009 01:01 PM
Ivey from Brooklyn


What a wonderful show, thank you so much, and how wonderful so many passionate people have shared what they do.

I can't wait to get gardening.

Mar. 05 2009 12:59 PM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!!

BEFORE you do anything on your roof-- yes have an engineer look at it. But more BASICALLY-- Most Homeowners have not even TOUCHED their roof. And the ONLY reason the roof isn't leaking is because no-one has walked on it in years.

Soil, Pots, foot traffic, RAIN WATER HEAVY soil could add up to COLLAPSE. Leaks buried under rooftop gardens are HARDER to find and fix.

Being designed for Winter Snow is NOT equivalent to troughs of water sodden soil. Remember that EXTRA weight will be there WHEN it snows in Winter-- except now, you may not have the grace to simply wait for the snow to melt. The added weight may require IMMEDIATE rooftop shoveling

In short-- a Lot of OLDER houses have roofs that were NEVER designed to do anything more than keep WATER out of the house. Be careful!

Mar. 05 2009 12:56 PM
geegee from dwtwn brooklyn

You can google COMPOSTING INDOORS and find many products. The "bins" run about $30 to $400. I've also seen these products in stores around the city.

Mar. 05 2009 12:56 PM
Sally from NYC

I am a vegetarian.
I would love to be able to compost my wet garbage but it hasn't yet come to my neighborhood.
I recycle everything I can.

But I am not a gardener and have no interest in ever becoming one.

I find the assumption that everyone /wants/ to garden something between cavalier and slightly offensive.

Mar. 05 2009 12:54 PM
Shana L. Darabie-Elversog from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

I am currently growing several edibles on my fire escape and am planning on adding several window boxes soon. I have a lemon tree, fig tree, kaffir lime and am going to be doing more vegetables than I did last summer. This year I am also trying strawberries.

One thing I love to do though is grow more than I need and pass the additional plants on to friends that I know would love to do this stuff, but are too afraid to just do it on their own.

I also want to try hydroponics so that my husband and I can have basil and other summer herbs year round.

Mar. 05 2009 12:54 PM
Greg Ivan Smith from Sunnyside, Queens

I rent a 6th floor (top) apartment, with roof access (fire escape, etc.), but our landlords forbid rooftop use (presumably for safety reasons). It's a huge space, and I would love to use a small corner for a garden. Any thoughts on pursuing this idea with my landlords?

Mar. 05 2009 12:54 PM
Rob Baron from Yonkers, NY

The Science Barge, a prototype of a sustainable urban garden, is currently docked at the Yonkers MetroNorth station. Everyone should come and check it out!

Mar. 05 2009 12:52 PM
Cara from Washington Heights

For those of us without access to the rooftop, are there any programs that allow would-be gardeners to buy or rent a small plot of soil? Or, can I grow in the sunny spots of my apartment? I'm new to the city and need to garden!

Mar. 05 2009 12:52 PM
Dennis from Manhattan

Your guest is great but I remember Jerry Ford's WIN (whip inflation now) gardens. I remember he was ridiculed.

Mar. 05 2009 12:52 PM
Jean Isabella from Brooklyn

It should be noted that window boxes, or anything else, on fire escapes are prohibited by NYC Fire regulations.

Also, roof top gardeners must check with their co-op boards and proprietary lease to see what is permitted.

Mar. 05 2009 12:51 PM
Lee Mandell from Bushwick

I am starting a farm in Bushwick. It is called Boswyck farms. I am doing indoor hydroponic farming. I am hoping to promote greenhouses on flat roofs as well as outreach to show people how to do indoor farming. My website is Info at It is in the beginning but will be growing.

Mar. 05 2009 12:49 PM
Jason from brooklyn

Does anyone know the best way to get your soil tested?

Mar. 05 2009 12:49 PM
Bo from Brooklyn

My partner and I have grown cucumbers on our fire escape, tomatoes on our air conditioner and peppers in window boxes. Last summer, our passion flower in our south exposure, second bedroom actually fruited and we had passionfruit.

Mar. 05 2009 12:49 PM
ted from manhattan

we have had a backyard garden in hell's kitchen for the past dozen years.

an oasis in the big apple.

viewing urban gardens is a fabulous pastime.


Mar. 05 2009 12:14 PM

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