1
Garden Update: What’s Growing in November?
2
Box Them Up, How to Turn Tomatoes Red
3
Garden Update: What’s Growing in October?
4
Summer Picking of Soybeans
5
The Story of Mr. Caterpillar and the Jalapeno Plant
6
What are we picking? It’s a green harvest!
7
Crazy Tomato and Watermelon Harvest – 83 pounds worth!
8
What I LOVE: My Awesome Dad and his Garden Peppers
9
How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month
10
Tomato Season.. Picking By the Bucket!
11
Step Into Crista’s Garden
12
Changing of the Guard, From Peas to Beans
13
PSA: Cocoa Husks + Rhododendron = NO! DONT DO IT!
14
Radish and Lettuce Picking In the Garden
15
What’s Growing in the Garden!
16
Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!
17
Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing
18
Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!
19
Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!
20
First Planting In The Garden This Year….

Garden Update: What’s Growing in November?

Remember when I said a few weeks ago it was going to frost shortly? Well it didn’t.  I’m kicking myself for picking all those green tomatoes but it’s better safe than to be sorry. After all, they are turning red in their shoe boxes beautifully.   So with yesterday almost reaching 80 degrees and the previous weekend requiring a Winter hat, it’s a little confusing.   I assume this is how the garden feels too, confused. Should I grow? Should I not grow?  Should I call for Mom to harvest me? Should I keep Mom away from us because she keeps doing weird dance moves?  

With a basket in hand I made it to the garden this week to pick some final vegetables of the season. The plants are winding down and I really believe this is it (minus the kale).  I picked a nice selection of green beans, peppers (bells and jalapenos), soybeans that I’ll be picking out their pods forever (anyone want to help?), tomatillos and the final red tomatoes.

This weekend we’ll start working on a new garden project that’s exciting but you’ll have to wait to hear more about it this month.  I can’t wait to get to work on it so I can share it with you!

For now though… let’s look at what I picked!

A nice selection of veggies..
End of Season Harvest

Green beans for days.  I’ve been freezing them so it looks like we have alot of green bean soup ahead of us for the Winter.
End of Season Harvest_1

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Box Them Up, How to Turn Tomatoes Red

It’s a few days from November but I’m still enjoying fresh tomatoes. No, I’m not picking them from the garden, that ship has sailed.  The nights became too cold a few weeks ago and the garden was pretty much put to sleep, minus a few hearty greens.  To grab some fresh tomatoes I’m now picking them from a shoebox.  To be exact, 4 big shoeboxes full of tomatoes.  

Don’t you hate when it’s the end of the season and you have hundreds of green tomatoes staring at you?  The sadness.. The tears.  The longing to want to save all those baby green tomatoes so they can turn into big red adults one day. 

Tomatoes have been spotted.

We had so many green roma and cherry tomatoes left we couldn’t let them go bad.  Never leave a tomato behind.  We aren’t big fried green tomato fans, so it was back to the basics, time to box up those tomatoes and let them turn red naturally. 

The way to do is really simple.  Are you ready?
Put your tomatoes in a shoebox (or any type of box), close it. Put shoebox in cool place.  Check on them twice a week. Watch them turn red over time. Pick the red tomatoes out and enjoy! 

Now wasn’t that easy? 

Here’s another tip,  if you want to turn them red more quickly then add a banana into each box. Just make sure you keep a eye on the banana so it doesn’t turn into mush and make a mess.

With a bunch of green tomatoes left, we stuck them in their boxes about 10 days ago and I just checked them today to find a whole bunch of red beauties looking at me!
How to Make Tomatoes Turn Red

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Garden Update: What’s Growing in October?

The last few weeks have been confusing for the garden. It started with a windy October throwing tomatoes off their plants and all over the roof, while almost knocking down our pea fence (thankfully it’s secured in about 6 spots).  With the wind came the 40 something degree nights. Then suddenly it had 80 degree days.  Then it was down to 50.  Then it was 75.  And today again, it’s back to wearing a coat.  With the ups and downs the garden doesn’t know whether to stop growing or keep producing. This weekend we’re going to remove the rest of the tomatoes from the plants, even if they’re green. In the next week we’re getting close to freezing at night (it’s already at freezing just 3 hours north of us) so it’s better to be safe than sorry.   The soy bean, peas and beans were already removed last weekend with a nice harvest coming from them.  Next up is the tomatoes and peppers and that pretty much wraps up this seasons garden.  The kale which was planted in early Spring is still kicking it in it’s full glory so we’re going to let that keep growing throughout the Winter and see how it does.  Kale is a pretty hearty plant so maybe it’ll keep growing and I can push aside some snow to pick kale.  

Now the garden in pictures…. the ending of the season!

This is the garden on a very very windy day that rained hours before.  Since the fences were really blowing in the wind to scary levels we had to take them down.  Imagine taking down 12 foot tall wire fences in the super wind. Yeah it’s quite a experience. And yes, you and your loved one will get in many arguments.  Also ignore the slight mess, I had a few baskets and bowls there ready to collect our harvest.
Garden October 3 2015

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Summer Picking of Soybeans

Soybeans are always warriors of the garden.  We started growing these a few years ago when I was madly in love with edamame but hated the price of it.    So we bought some soybean seeds, planted them and a few months later we were left with so many soybeans we didn’t know what to do!

Remember that crazy year of soybeans?
Picking Soybeans 2014_8

Oh, I remember it!

With this year we continued the soybean tradition but planted a few plants less than usual because… well, we had too many soybeans!  

It started out with a seed… It started out with a kiss… Anyone love that song?  Anyone else think Brandon Flowers is a babe?  Major babe. Like Woah babe.  Top 5 babes.  Along with Goblin and Brother Bear. 
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The Story of Mr. Caterpillar and the Jalapeno Plant

This is a sad story about Mr. Caterpillar.

A few weeks ago we went up to the roof and noticed one of our jalapeno plants was bare.  A few days before it was filled with peppers and leaves, and then suddenly it was close to being empty.
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What are we picking? It’s a green harvest!

With a ton of red picking with our tomatoes, it’s time to show some love to the green veggies.

We’re picking tomatoes like wild people but we’re also picking a ton of other vegetables.  Right now there’s tomatillos, peppers (jalapeno and bell), soy beans, green beans, yellow beans, watermelon, cantaloupes, cucumbers, radishes and carrots growing.  As soon as the soybeans are picked, broccoli will make it’s way to their bins.  Once the carrots and radishes are harvested, a quick seed refresh will be planted to hope we can get them regrown by first frost. In our previous onion 4×4 containers a new batch of sugar snap peas were just planted in hopes they will make it before frost as well, although every year they seem to miss it by a week or two.

What’s growing and what are we picking in the garden that’s green? Let’s dive in.

Beans! Yellow beans, green beans, they’re everywhere!  In the beginning years of the garden we didn’t have much luck with pole and bush beans but starting last year we tried it again and it worked. This year we decided to expand to pole beans and they are growing awesome.  We added new fresh compost fertilizer to the soil and these beans took off.  Matthew is 6 feet so check out how big they’ve gotten.  The right side won with getting to the top first. :D)
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We have multiple gallon sized bags full of green beans in the fridge with us picking more every day.  We’ve been enjoying them for dinner sauteed and in vegetable soup (recipe coming soon) and I’ve been freezing a few bags to save until Winter.
Its a Green Harvest

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Crazy Tomato and Watermelon Harvest – 83 pounds worth!

This week was a big harvest weekend where we spent a whole evening picking vegetables and the entire day of Sunday making stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  I am pretty sure that I will never need to buy tomato sauce again.  This Summer we bought a mini storage freezer just for our garden and it’s about 75% full and we have a good 2 months left of gardening this year (not counting Fall veggies).  I’m going to have open a produce stand, anyone want to stop by?  I give veggies out for free! :D)

(I apologize for the quality of these pictures, it was already dark out by the time we got the tomatoes inside)

First up tomatoes.  We picked 43 pounds of tomatoes this weekend!  Wild, right?  
This is a really heavy crate, too heavy for my weak arms.  I picked it up, Matthew snapped the picture, I threw the crate down and then fell to the floor in weak power.
Hahahahaha...help!

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What I LOVE: My Awesome Dad and his Garden Peppers

In this new series, I’m sharing current things that I love.  Maybe it’s cats, maybe it’s a new restaurant, maybe it’s a new cookie, maybe it’s… anything!

The title of this should also read: Dad’s Green Peppers, AKA My Dad Is Cool

We grow peppers and they do pretty good.  We grow bell peppers and jalapeno peppers and we pick multiple pounds a week.  But then my dad shows up and shows me how he grows them in Pennsylvania.  Goodness gracious, Pennsylvania grows them good.  

Every year my dad starts a garden in the back yard.  As a kid we had a very small yard but he would still grow tomatoes.  The tomatoes would grow so tall they would block the kitchen window.  It also made it easy because we could use the sink hose to water these tomatoes out the window.   My dad moved into a new house a few years ago and he has a much larger garden area now.  Every Spring he buys his plants from farmers and he always buys alot more than one person usually buys.  And every year halfway during the Summer he tells me he’s never buying them again because he has too many.  And then the next year comes around and he does the same thing.  And this Summer he continued this tradition and bought even more.  My dad has over 20 pepper plants, for one man.  I laugh because it’s funny, cute and amazing all at the same time. 

A few weeks ago when he started planting the peppers he made a joke that he would ship me them as they started to grow. I laughed.

So you can imagine that I burst into laughter when a big box appeared at my door and when opening it up, I saw this:

 Dad Rules Green Peppers_1

 That’s right, my dad shipped me peppers.

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How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month

How to Store Lettuce to Last a ENTIRE MONTH!  This easy tip shows you how to wrap your lettuce in aluminum foil to keep it fresh in the refrigerator.  The lettuce stays so crisp after a month I can even use it for salads! 

Lettuce only lasting a few days? Never again! With this easy method using aluminum foil you can store lettuce to last for a month!

In June we pick lettuce.  We pick lots of lettuce.  I’m talking so much lettuce you begin to get lettuce anxiety.  Have you ever had it?  It’s when you dream of lettuce chasing you with baskets to capture you.   It’s rough.
How to Store Lettuce to Last a ENTIRE MONTH!  This easy tip shows you how to wrap your lettuce in aluminum foil to keep it fresh in the refrigerator.  The lettuce stays so crisp after a month I can even use it for salads!

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Tomato Season.. Picking By the Bucket!

You guys, it’s raining tomatoes on me!  Send help… bring canning jars and freezer bags, I’ve got tomato sauces lined up and ready for you!

This Summer we planted triple the amount of tomato plants which is resulting in a whole lot of tomatoes.  How many?  We bought a small freezer for our garden goodies that we freeze, mostly tomato sauce.  Already a few racks  in the freezer are full of sauce!  My goal is to go a entire year without having to buy any tomato sauce, so I’ve been stocking up!  Last year I lasted until April and then I had to cave and buy a jar in the store, but I’m hoping to last until next year’s tomato season.  

Tomato Season
(yes, that’s what I do when I’m bored, I surround FiFi Bofinkles with tomatoes and march them up her belly, she loves it, I swear)

 We mainly grow 3 types of tomatoes, cherry, roma and beef.  Here’s my original post on when we planted the seeds and moved them outside.  Besides sauces, I’m slicing and dicing salsa like a crazy woman, throwing cherry tomatoes in my mouth and dabbing a touch of salt on a sliced beef tomato and eating it raw.     By the way, my favorite tomato sauce recipe is this one that I use almost every time.  You can substitute cherry tomatoes for your kind, I use it the same way for beef and roma tomatoes.

Here’s some of our plants, all in 27 or 5 gallon containers.  On a rooftop.  Gosh, I love saying that.  Tomato high 5.  Did I mention (I know I didn’t) that we already picked over 120 pounds of vegetables so far this year? On a rooftop.  Garden love high 5 and back flips (careful). 

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Step Into Crista’s Garden

Hey guys,
I’m missing the Blogher conference in NYC because I’m in Los Angeles right now working on a top secret fun job, but while I’m gone, I wanted to share with you Crista’s garden.  This is a ongoing “peeking” feature that I’ve been wanting to grow that showcases people’s growing spaces, from big gardens to plants that live on NYC fire escapes. I hope you enjoy!  And if are interested in getting your garden featured, leave a comment and I’ll contact you!  And to everyone at the Blogher conference, I hope you are taking lots of pictures and having fun!   Brooklyn Farm Girl will be featured doing the Voices of the Year ceremony, so if you can, grab some pics for me!

So now without any more yapping, meet Crista from peace.love.quinoa
peacelovequinoa1

Can you tell me about peace. love. quinoa and how it relates to growing your own?  How did you come up with your blog’s name?
When I first conceptualized my blog, I struggled with a name for it – I honestly thought a name would come to me easier than it did. After listing out the things that are important to me, the things that define me as a person and would eventually define my blog’s brand, I found three words: peace, love, and quinoa. The three words sounded good together and quickly became my blogs name.

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Changing of the Guard, From Peas to Beans

 The transition from June to July is always a large change in the plants.  Collard greens gets replaced by pumpkins,  broccoli and cauliflower gets replaced by soybeans and cucumbers.  Lettuce gets replaced by cantaloupe.  Watermelons get added into the raspberry bins.  And our beloved sugar snap peas get replaced with beans.. lots and lots of beans… to replace lots and lots of sugar snap peas.

This year the sugar snap pea plants did great, but they’re always done well with producing a bunch of peas.  They’re one of the most consistent plants with good yields in both Spring and Fall.
Baked Sugar Snap Peas_8

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PSA: Cocoa Husks + Rhododendron = NO! DONT DO IT!

I’m hoping you came to this page because you were thinking about adding cocoa husks as mulch for your Rhododendron plants.  Because you love your Rhododendrons so much you looked this up on almighty Google before doing the mulching deed.  So now I answer your question..

Can I add cocoa husks as mulch to my Rhododendron plant?
NO! DON’T DO IT!  
ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Our 3 year old beloved Rhododendron plant had some weeds starting in the container, so we decided to add some mulch around it.  It sure gets hot on that roof, so we thought it would help lock in that moisture too.   That day in the garden though we didn’t have our phones on us to first look if this was a good idea.. so we did it.  Cocoa husks acts like great mulch for lots of plants and it’s fantastic as compost material, so this would be ok, right?

Two weeks later, we home from a short few day trip and this is what we see. Our baby, almost dead.
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Radish and Lettuce Picking In the Garden

As we gear up for Phase 2 of the garden (that’s Summer time), our Spring plants are in full bloom and ready to be picked. If you open up our fridge right now you’ll see bags and bags of wrapped greens, peas and more.

Soon we’ll be transitioning our containers to the Summer soybeans, watermelons and cantaloupes which means many of our leafy greens need to be picked. Radishes are usually planted 3-4 times a year and the first harvest is already ready. As soon as the radishes are picked, then the new seeds are planted immediately after (literally minutes later!). The radishes reside next to the carrots which we’re all anxiously waiting for.

First up, the lettuce.
The seeds were planted on March 31 and transplanted outside to their containers on May 7.  Remember when they were just babies?
Garden May 15 2015_38

Well look at them a month later…! They are bigger than my head!
Our lettuce heads ready to be picked!  #lettuce #greens #vegetablegarden #vegetables #containergarden #rooftopgarden

 

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What’s Growing in the Garden!

Hey friends,
Happy Monday – did you have a good weekend?  How’s your garden looking?  Have you started planting your veggies?

Here’s a garden update with MANY photos!  I wanted to show you how we have expanded the garden and also what’s growing in it.    So let’s take a look around the garden!

Welcome….!
Garden May 15 2015

Hey Matthew!
Garden May 15 2015_46

Broccoli – we spotted our first head!
Garden May 15 2015_1

 

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Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!


So you’ve just made a beautiful lasagna.  Your kitchen smells like the best Italian kitchen in the world and you can’t wait to cut a big cheesy slice.  What would be perfect?  Throwing some fresh oregano or basil on top.    Wouldn’t you love to just walk on over to your window, reach into a pot, grab a few pieces and then *hocus pocus* you have fresh herbs on top of your lasagna and you’re ready to dig in?  Well you can!
Planting Herbs Inside to Add some Apartment Green_9
We grow lots of vegetables and herbs in our rooftop garden, but I also love growing herbs inside.   Growing herbs inside is a great idea for many reasons. First, it’s easily accessible.  Need fresh oregano? No need to throw your shoes on (and maybe pants – let’s be honest) to run to the garden. Second, you can grow herbs all year inside.  It’s easy to grow basil, oregano, mint and more inside next to your window no matter the season. Lastly, it sure looks pretty.   Want to spruce your home up with some greens and life?  Grow herbs and visit Burpee Home Gardens!
photo 2.JPG
 
Lots of friends often ask me about growing their own herbs and they tend to be a bit scared.  They have many questions and many fears behind all of them.  I always give them a hug and tell them it will be ok!  Sure, you can grow herbs from seeds (which is very economical) but you can also get herb plants that have already started to grow.  This is perfect for both beginning gardeners and experienced ones who want something quickly to plant.    You can find these herb plants at your local home store which is what I did when I bought oregano and cilantro. 
 

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Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  Hope you like what’s growing in the garden! #CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias

Coke-Happy-Hour_4-combo

Hey guys,

Sorry I’ve been a bit missing here at Brooklyn Farm Girl.  If you follow me on Instagram (I hope you are!) then you know I’m still around, but it’s been a busy few months. Right now we’re putting finishing touches on a Mother’s Day video that I will post on Friday – get ready for bling bling envy!   Besides working and trying to find time for the cats (I miss them so much when we work to midnight!) we also need to spend time in the garden! Right now the Spring garden is planted and we are putting aside a day this weekend to bring in the Summer plants (tomatoes! tomatillos! peppers! more!).    With such a busy schedule right now I really value our time in the garden as it’s the best time to relax (sometimes I even leave my phone downstairs so no phone calls or emails, gasp!).     Happy Hour in the garden is the best time, it’s around 6-7PM where the sun set is setting and you can see it glaring off the skyscrapers in Manhattan.  We cheers with some Diet Coke, hold hands, and marvel at our baby broccoli plants.  I think we all need a garden moment.
I think our plants grow so well because of the view they see everyday.  #strawberry #skyline #worldtradetower #sunset #sky #vegetablegarden #rooftop #NYC #Brooklyn #vegetables #healthyeating #garden #gardening #urbanfarming #urbangarden #containergarden #

 

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Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!

Every time it rains I remind myself I need to get a raincoat.  Then the raining stops and I forget.  Then it rains again and I remind myself I need to get a raincoat. Then the raining stops…  Does this happen to anyone else?   April showers bring May flowers they say and this week is a rainy one.   

On Saturday it was near 80 degrees (too soon!).  We no longer have to worry about frost during the night.  Now it’s the usual garden business to worry about.   One thing that is looking good is all the Spring seedlings.  Besides the carrots and radishes, the Spring garden is officially planted.  We were able to get the onions, kale and pak choi planted a day after we planted the broccoli and friends.  It feels nice to be back up on the roof everyday checking on the plants and watering the containers.  

So the Spring garden is: broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, onions, kale, pak choi, sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes.    Don’t forget you can follow along with planting dates in my seed calendar too.  

Now to the planting, first up, the onions.  Like the sugar snap peas, we went a bit crazy with onions this year.  We planted 68 onions this year, which is about 48 more than we were planning.  What happens is you plant what you were going to, and then you look at the sad leftover onion seedlings and know they will just go to waste if you don’t plant them.  So you save those onions and make room in other containers.  The funny part of all this is that onions are one thing in the garden I don’t eat. I’ve never been a onion fan so I’m going to leave it to Matthew to eat all those onions, good luck! 
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015

Onion seeds are itty bitty tiny little things, so when you see how big this little seeds roots are already before you plant, you need to smile.
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015_5

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Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!

It’s that time of the year again… a sugar snap pea planting post!
Every year I post about them with pretty much the same pictures and details, and every single year I post about them with crazy enthusiasm.  I mean there’s no garden without sugar snap peas growing!  

Last year we grew a bunch of sugar snap pea plants but this year (as always) we kicked it up a bit.  There will be 93 sugar snap pea plants!  There’s 22 in one 4×4 box in the back, 22 in another 4×4 box in the back and then 49 plants that will take up a entire 4×4 box.   We’re one sugar snap pea loving family as you can tell. 

About a week ago we started pre-sprouting the peas inside.  Pre-sprouting will make sure your peas will grow once they’re in the soil as you’ll visually see they have already started.   This makes growing more stress free as if it’s already pre-sprouted you can be pretty sure it will pop through the soil in a few days and that it’s not rotting underneath.  Here’s a how to pre-sprout your peas tutorial I made a couple years ago.

After they sit in their plastic baggy for a few days, you’ll take them out and see they’ve all sprouted.  That means they’re ready for the ground!

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015_1

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First Planting In The Garden This Year….

With the weather slowly transitioning to Spring we decided to make use of the 55 degree temperatures (but windy!) this weekend and get the garden rolling out.  In January we planted our Spring seeds and they have anxiously been waiting to move outside.  The broccoli grew so tall inside that we couldn’t raise our grow lights anymore.  Besides the sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes that will be planted directly into the soil, here’s the lineup of the Spring garden.
First-Planting-of-the-Year-2015-Seedlings

This year we planted many more broccoli plants then cauliflower.   We use broccoli in so many more dishes and it freezes great so it seemed like the best choice to take advantage of the container space.  We also have a ton of onions for Matthew to enjoy.   We are going to be trying to grow collard greens for the first time this year and I’m hoping for success so I can make this recipe every single day.

The seedlings were moved outside a few days ago to slowly transition.  We do this so they can harden off and not get shocked by the new weather they’re experiencing.  For the first week we’ll throw fabric on top of the seedlings to protect then from the sun. Everyday they’ll be exposed to the sun a bit longer so by the time the week is over they will be able to hand it completely.
First Planting of the Year 2015 Broccoli

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