Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southern Patio Jumbo Growing Tower for the Rooftop Garden

Bucolic Bushwick Retail Bought Self Watering Container

I was shopping at Manhattan's 23rd St HD when I came across this planter, the Jumbo Growing Tower from the HDR line of Southern Patio. This is the first self watering container I've ever seen sold in this store. I bought one for the roof, $15.98 plus tax.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reading Round Up: Chicken Sitters Edition

Bucolic Bushwick Retail Bought Self Watering Container
Ground-up animal meat and bone could be turned into biodegradable plastics.

Study suggests envy holds back agricultural development.

Heirloom or hybrid?

No literacy, no problem: Lessons in farming and health can be watched as animations on mobile phones.

Sleep deprived people eat 300 more calories a day.

US food industry to trim packaging waste by 4 billion pounds.

Car parts from fruit!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drat! Damping Off has Hit the Seedlings

Remember when I wrote that I've never had a problem with damping off?  Well I'm eating my words. I went away last weekend and came back to this:

Bucolic Bushwick Vegetable Plant Disease
Damping-off is a common disease that kills seedlings in the greenhouse. Damping-off can kill both germinating seeds and young seedlings. Several fungi can cause this disease, including Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium spp., Phytophthora spp., Sclerotinia spp., and Botrytis spp. Practically all species of plants can be affected.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reading Round Up: Dracula Strains Edition

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Vegetable Garden
I mentioned this in a previous reading round up, but it can't hurt to do it again: banana peels can purify water.

Laos researches insect farming to improve food security.

Natural Sequence Farming could affect global climate change.

Farming re-emerges as a viable career path.

Beat the salad bar.

Strawberry dust devil ballet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Seed Starting Setup

Bucolic Bushwick Seed Starting Setup
Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes were started last weekend. The cucumbers and melons will come in April. My target planting date is mid May. I know that seems a bit late, but I prefer to wait for nighttime temperatures to warm up before I put plants on the roof.

I started every Atris pepper seed in the packet (10), but I only intend to use 3 or 4 on the rooftop so there will be several to give away in a few weeks. I started extra Sun Gold cherry tomato seeds to give away too. I'll let you know when everything is ready.

As you can see from the photo I bought a grow light. Actually, I was shopping for desk light when I noticed I could buy a grow light for the same price so I figured why not. Plus, since I now have a grow light I can reclaim the desk light I was using in my indoor gardening experiment. I no longer need to buy a desk light!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reading Round Up: McRunner Edition

Bucolic Bushwick Vegetable Plant Disease
What happened in Japan is heartbreaking, here are some ways to help.

Subway has passed McDonald's as the world's largest restaurant chain.

UN Report: Small scale farming could double the world's food production in 10 years.

Limited edition ketchup.

Good news! In case you were wondering standing in alcohol won't get you drunk.

Organic fertilizer maker charged with fraud.

New plastic is made from mushrooms.

Prices for NYC food cart permits skyrocket.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Phoenix Tribal #27

Pen and ink phoenix tribal by Elaine Espinosa

Pen & ink on bristol board, 11x14.

To see more of my work please visit my tribal art site.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Indoor Gardening Experiment a Success + First Harvest of 2011

Bucolic Bushwick Indoor Gardening
It's early in the year to be harvesting stuff, but my indoor vegetable gardening experiment turned out really well so here we are!

The south facing window above is usually filled with houseplants. I've noticed the plants in this window grow steadily throughout winter (other plants in darker locations do not) so they gave me the idea to try to grow vegetables indoors when it's too cold to go out on the roof.

Vegetables require more light to grow than houseplants so I added some things to the window to maximize  light exposure. For supplemental lighting I added a desk light with a cool white cfl bulb. The light is set on timer for 16 hours a day. On the left side of the photo you can see some mylar taped to the wall, it's the same on the other side of the window. Blackout curtains on the right side of the photo finish out the setup. The goal is to reflect light onto the plants. The white colored blackout curtains are kept closed at all times. Both the mylar and the white curtains bounce as much light as possible back onto the plants.

Recreating this setup is very easy.  Any desk light will work as long as the neck is long enough for the bulb to hover directly over the plants.  Stack books under the lamp base if you have to. Blackout curtains are not strictly necessary, any light colored curtains will do. Mylar is also not strictly necessary, aluminum foil will work just as well. A south facing window is best, as it gets the most direct sunlight. Any other window would  probably need more supplemental lighting than one desk light can provide.
Bucolic Bushwick Indoor Gardening
The radish on the left was planted in a standard container and the two on the right were planted in a small, diy self watering container. In the future I'll be using these tabletop self watering containers exclusively, they last much longer between waterings than standard containers. Sorry, I forgot to label the radishes after I planted them so I can't tell you what's what.  They were all tasty regardless.

I'll be starting seeds soon so this experiment is on hold for now. When I resume it I'm going to try a few more root vegetables and then, if I'm confident in the results, I'll upgrade to fruiting vegetables. Can you imagine eating cherry tomatoes straight off the vine in the dead of winter? What a treat! I'm trying to put these thoughts out of my mind for now, I need to get through spring and summer on the rooftop first!

Radishes (Cherry Belle, French Breakfast, Sparkler Top): 2.5 ounces

Running Weight Total 2011:  2.5 ounces

Update: I now have a grow light which has replaced the desk light.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sunscald Mystery Solved

Bucolic Bushwick Rooftop Container Garden Disease
I made an interesting discovery last weekend. I found the cause of last year's problem with sunscald on a pepper plant. The door to the roof has a half circle window, you can see light reflecting off this window onto the chimney in the photo above. When the door was propped open halfway, which it often was during warm days, this light reflection would shine directly on the poor plant and roast peppers directly on the stem. The window is now covered and will no longer burn anything else!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reading Round Up: Baby Gaga Edition

Bucolic Bushwick Indoor Gardening
My indoor vegetable gardening experiment is going pretty well. I'm already nibbling on the Swiss chard leaves and the radishes will be ready to harvest in a few days. I'm going to try several other crops to see what performs well in an indoor setting. I have no idea why I didn't try this sooner, it would have been a great way to combat the winter doldrums.

Battle over Girl Scout Thin Mints lead to assault charges.

Consumer watchdog group says organic food less tasty than conventionally grown produce.

Compostable sneakers!

16 Cents of Each Dollar You Spend on Food Goes to the Farm. What Happens to the Rest?