Category Archives: Garden

Curbside Garden Diary: Weeks 7-10

As has become a common affair when tending to the garden, I had a very long conservation with my neighbor, the president of the block association. I learned that she has lived in our neighborhood 46 years and has gardened down the street for over 20 years. I was impressed. They apparently just installed a sprinkler system. She said that other people often ask her what the fronds on the street side of my garden are, and I explained they are asparagus sprouts. She pointed out that my zucchini so far had only male flowers and that the female flowers have little nubs on them that produce the vegetable. You’re supposed to pick off the male flowers and eat them, since they’re otherwise useless.

She also suggested I plant more perennial flowers next time.I couldn’t care less about that, but I held my tongue. She warned me squirrels might eat the tomatoes. What tomatoes? Fuck! I didn’t think of that, though. I was more worried about animals on the ground, but squirrels are crafty. We closed the conversation speaking about how people bring their dogs to her garden even though there are signs. She said one once told her it was fine for the plants, because dogs are natural. Yes that makes sense! We both agreed dog piss was not the same thing as grass-fed cow manure. I felt a little bad for her.

How has the garden fared as the summer has dragged on? Continue reading


Curbside Garden Diary: Weeks 5-6

It has been about two weeks since I last checked in on Gertrude’s Garden. I keep thinking that each diary post will be the last for a month — since this is, after all a somewhat mundane topic — but so much has happened! Firstly, almost all of the plants have absolutely exploded in growth, as you can plainly see.

The lone asparagus is now absolutely huge, despite being knocked over by people carelessly exiting their cars. What do they think this is, a street? I say “lone,” but clearly the asparagus has begun populating its niche in earnest. I count at least a dozen fronds at this point, and more stems seem to be poking through the dirt each week. Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 4

As one of the primary purveyors of BTYM it’s always interesting to see what content strikes a chord. Even though I’m constantly surprised by what is popular and what isn’t, I never would have thought little old Gertrude (the curbside garden) would draw such a digital crowd to mirror her analog fans. This is a diary about a tiny [but lovable] plot of land that is not going to see many changes until later in the summer. It feels like the updates are going to slow to a maybe monthly basis, since most of the activity has happened…for now.

Nonetheless, I have some news to report. Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 3

Another week, another old lady and her granddaughter stopping by to admire and express how much they love my curbside garden. “Yah, yah…it’s majestic and unique. I know,” my eyes seem to say to them as a I pain to turn off the music with my grubby soiled hands.

Speaking of dirt, I vastly underestimated how much of it I would need. I could not be less enthused about carrying it, surprise surprise. By my calculations, Gertrude needs approximately 4-5 fucktons of dirt. I tried ordering it on Amazon, but that seems insane. It’s going to take at least 8 huge bags of Miracle Gro. Oh who am I kidding, Amazon it is! Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 2 – I till it like it is.

OMG, let me tell you about the pleasures and terrors of doing normal things as a resident of New York City. I’m talking about things that are effortless and mundane elsewhere. Things like buying dirt, transporting lumber, watering plants. These things are hard and expensive when you don’t have a car or a Wal-Mart. For example, I don’t yet have a watering can, so I’m filling up a soup/stock pot in my kitchen sink and carrying that 4 flights up and down the stairs. I look like a homeless person. Luckily, I have tons of extra fertilizer from many a failed Aerogarden, uh, gardens. How much fertilizer each packet contains, how much I should dilute into the water, and how frequently I should repeat this…really is anybody’s guess. Fuck if I know that.

But let me back up a bit.

Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 1

Well it’s been quite a while since Eats Meats West last checked in on the Curbside Garden (TM). Spring has sprung, so it’s time to revisit. The goal is of course to reclaim what little earth I can, and I’ll fill it with as much nutrient-dense produce as possible. Week 1 has been a construction and planning week. As previously discussed, I officially adopted the London Plane Tree outside of my apartment. I discovered I could install a small “tree well garden,” one thing led to another, and well, you’re looking at Brooklyn’s newest urban garden.

Gertrude be thy name. Continue reading

Well hello there, Thyme.

We used to have a giant plum tomato plant in our kitchen window, the only truly reliable space with enough sun in the whole apartment. Despite my efforts, the plant only ever produced two single tomatoes. In fact it was actually two separate plants, and between the two we received only two measly (and not that tasty, I would like to add) little plums! Nevertheless, it was an impressively large plant, and keeping those two red dots healthy became a priority for the two months or so over the summer when guests came over every week. Finally, as the summer came to a close yesterday, it came time to chop down the ill-producing plant.

Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 0.5

Success!  Landlord agreed to the conversion of the “tree well” into a garden.  I was also offered use of the basement’s facilities, such as…you know, um, electricity and dampness.  Those will come in handy.

Anyway, so in anticipation of the forthcoming acceptance of my proposal, I preemptively and adopted the tree.  Yah, as in like, legally adopted it.  For reals.  I imagine this is probably about how hard it would be to adopt a human child, and since I’m never going to do that, this is close enough!

Turns out she’s a London Planetree.  Wait, what?  She ain’t no plain nothing!  She’s a tall, triumphant, regal beaut.

I would like to give her a name, and obviously it’ll need to be very British.  Any ideas?  Beatrice…Sophie…Hermione?

To be honest, though, I kind of couldn’t care less about the tree.  I want only the dirt that surrounds it.  I’m going to “care for” Ms. Planetree only in the sense that if it doesn’t get in my way, I won’t get in its way.

It rained this past weekend, so there was no opportunity to construct a fence around the dirt.  It’ll be wood and resemble this (source).

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 0

So I’m thinking of asking the landlord if he’d mind if I added a garden around our one and only curbside tree.  Although…maybe I don’t even need to ask permission, because isn’t that city property?  And since it’s city property, clearly I will not be asking permission.  Just look at all of these other sidewalk gardens (in the slideshow after the break) of different scope, all on the same street.  Some of these were in front of private homes, while others in front of apartment buildings.  Obviously August isn’t the best time of the year to start a garden, so I’m thinking:

  1. Cheap flowers that will instantly add color, and I won’t care when they die.
  2. A couple perennials that will survive the winter.  Asparagus?
  3. Then eventually bulbs.  When is it appropriate to plant bulbs?

Any ideas?  I’d say it’s at least 3′ x 4′, with a good chunk taken up by the tree.  There’s some sort of metal thin on the left, which I’m probably going to ignore.  [UPDATE: The metal thing says “water,” but it is totally rusted over and, thus, not my concern.]  Ideally this garden will begin to produce useful herbs and vegetables next year after another planting, so for now I’d just be getting things started.  The dirt looks sort of terrible around the tree, and there is apparently some cement, so I’ll be adding some kind of confining fence and lots of soil.  Oh and I guess clean up the trash.  Any tips?

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