How to Keep Your Garden Green and Growing

Friday, May 30, 2014

Vegetable garden Vegetable garden (Copyright: yuris/Shutterstock)

Gerard Lordahl, Director of GrowNYC’s Open Space Greening Program, talks about summer gardening—what to plant and when to plant it—and answers questions about how to keep your gardens green and growing all summer long.

There's a fundraiser for the New York City Community Garden Coalition on July 10. Find out more here.

Leave a comment with your questions about gardening and caring for plants!


Gerard Lordahl

Comments [15]

Maggie Ledan from NYC

I enjoy gardening and appreciate advice on the subject but I had to keep fighting off sadness and anger at Mr. Lopate's repeated insensitive remarks about squirrels. As native wildlife they are legally protected from "being outlawed" or shot with BBs - suggestions I was horrified to hear from an NPR radio host. The digging for food they might do in ones' treasured window box is far more forgivable than the widespread toxic damage humans subject persons and our environment to with impunity. Thank you to the guest for suggesting practical and modest measures to limit wildlife impact. One that farmers have long employed is "plant extra."

May. 30 2014 08:02 PM
Lou Sid from NYC

Seeing a seedling break the soil from a speck of dust and struggle upward for the air and light is one of the most inspiring sights a person can witness.

May. 30 2014 07:36 PM
Gary Oppenheimer from NJ and nationwide

Don't forget about the extra food you grew but couldn't eat. You can donate it to a nearby food pantry. enables growers to donate their excess food to a nearby food pantry in all 50 states. Visit to see how you can end food waste AND hunger in your community.

More at and

May. 30 2014 01:04 PM
Victoriz from Coney Island

My garden was bulldozed in Cobey Island we need a law to protect all the gardens what will they do a bout that?

May. 30 2014 12:39 PM
Debbi from Maplewood

I planted cilantro seeds 4 - 5 weeks ago.
The seedlings haven't grown since they sprouted. They won't grow and remain about 1"
What's happening?
I appreciate your answer

May. 30 2014 12:39 PM
Scott from Madison, NJ

Chipmunks are the bane of my garden's existence. How can I at least reduce the population without resorting to "extreme" measures?

May. 30 2014 12:35 PM
Jr from Manhattan hamilton heights

I've noticed that a tree in front of my building has begun to bloom leaves but there is one long branch that is not growing its leaves back again.. It was planted back in 1998 gets full sun exposure all day and has been leafing normaly until now. What can be done to help the tree bloom normaly again?

May. 30 2014 12:35 PM
Sher from Lower manhattan

Does Mr. Lordahl know about the unattended, unmaintained park between Municipal Building and Police Plaza? The Japanese cherry trees (gift from Japan) are totally overgrown with ivy, weeds and sucker sprouts. Apparently neither Parks nor DCAS thinks it is their responsibility(?)
How to get it attended?

May. 30 2014 12:30 PM
Marv from Upper East Side

My apartment came with a patio that includes a 6x16 garden area on the north side of the building. I really want to take advantage of my little piece of nature in the city and I'm a novice, so I have a few questions:

*Should the area be completely clear of rocks before I plant?
*Should I completely replace the soil if I plan on planting a food garden?
*As the area is shaded by trees, it doesn't get more than a few hours direct sunlight. What types of plants and vegetables would thrive in these conditions?
*When is it too late to plant?

May. 30 2014 12:25 PM
Sher from Lower Manhattan

Mr. Lordahl - Please respond to the TOTALLY Disgracefully Abandoned, Neglected park between the Municipal Bldg and Police Headquarters (Police Plaza). Japanese cherry trees (gift of Japan) are overgrown with ivy and weeds - Apparently neither DCAS nor Dept of Parks has responsibility. No one attends! In Mayor's AND Borough President's BACKYARD!

May. 30 2014 12:23 PM
pam from ny

Why was this such a bad winter for fig trees when the temperatures weren't especially cold: no negative degree days?

May. 30 2014 12:12 PM
janny1006 from jersey city

My hydrangea bushes are very slow in getting to the green leaf stage - they are filling in from the bottom up, and very slowly! The top halves are still spindly branches at this point.

I thought it was just me, but I was in Rhode Island over the weekend and all the bushes there looked the same. Is this a repercussion of the tough winter?

May. 30 2014 12:11 PM
Jim Stuben from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Will the fig trees come back? Ours have no fruit and only a handful of leaves.

May. 30 2014 12:11 PM
Daniel from Whitestone, Queens

First Time Gardener Here.

I have a backyard garden in Queens, but a lot of un-pruned tress on my neighbors yards block the sun for portions of the day. Any advice?


May. 30 2014 12:10 PM
Peg from Finger Lakes

Talk about "sack gardening" the new urban rage for gardeners with very little space for growing. They're doing this method all over the world from third world cities to New York's balconies and roof tops. All you need is a few plastic garbage bage or gunny sacks, some scavenged or purchased topsoil, some weeds or compost for fertilizer and the plants you want to grow. ...Easy peasy and so many 'sack' variations to supplement your urban nutrition with fresh food grown close by.

May. 30 2014 09:42 AM

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