Garden Update: What’s growing on our rooftop?

Hi Friends! Happy Thursday! 

This week has been hot here in NYC.  It has me muttering “Have mercy!” just like Uncle Jesse whenever I’m outside.  Since our rooftop is silver and reflective, it makes things a little uncomfortable up there on the roof.  That’s why we have to take extra precaution with the plants in making sure their leaves don’t get burned.  We also have to make sure the plants stay watered as being so hot up there they can dry out rather quickly.   Sub irrigated planters really help that situation and since we always put plastic on top of the containers it locks in the moisture.   That’s just one of the many reasons why container gardening rules.    This post is going to be all about a garden update, but first a few other notes.

Brooklyn Farm Girl got a redesign over the weekend!  Do you see it? I hope so!  There was lots of things that my last layout just couldn’t provide me and after many months of being fed up I finally switched to a new design.  There are still some bugs that are being taken care of but for the most part they are just bugs that super picky me can notice.  If something breaks on the site or you see something weird, just let me know.  I’m already noticing the speed time has greatly improved and traffic has picked up so I’m hoping that’s a sign of good things to come!  You can read more about my blogging theme and other helpful tips here.

I got new hair! I know, breaking news.  But because many of you know me as Pamela with the blue hair, or Pamela with the gray hair who went back to blue hair, I just had to tell you so the below pictures wouldn’t confuse you!  After many back and forth conversations with my new hair stylist I think she knocked it out of the park with my new color and cut.  I never had super short bangs so it’s a bit shocking in terms of suddenly I can see the world completely! No more hiding behind them.  When she cut them short for the first time it was weird to just look around and not see bangs in the way.  Woah!  The color is a very very dark brown/slightly black but it has a touch of a purple tint to it that you can see in the sun. It’s just something extra that I requested.  Anyways, I’m not usually happy with salon experiences but I’m doing cartwheels (not really, I can’t do them) about this new change!

USA USA USA USA.   I could write a entire post about how my heart is broken because of the World Cup and how I want to adopt Tim Howard but if you follow me on Twitter you already saw my numerous tweets.  Even though USA is done I still have World Cup fever!  Who’s your pick to win?

Ok now on to the garden post! Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the garden now that Summer has officially arrived!

You might have seen this photo on Instagram already, but say hello to my new best friends, chickens!  These aren’t our chickens but they are right next to the garden on the roof!  A neighbor got chickens and I am totally obsessed with them.  Matthew tells me I spend too much time talking to them.  As soon as I come out the roof door they all run out to greet me with “hello!”.  Then we talk, alot.  I just chat up a storm with these girls.  I have names for them all but it depends on my mood and how they are doing. Sometimes it’s Chicky or Baby, sometime it’s Irine and Cynthia, sometimes it’s Baby Doll.  I just love them so much.  They also know that I will feed them grass and leaves if they make noises at me enough so I think they love me too.  

Here’s Baby Doll running out to jump over the wood to get to me.
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Here’s Baby Doll again chatting with me.  She sure has some stories!
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These are my 4 new friends watching me as I water the cucumbers.  I want to buy them all best friend necklaces to wear.  I want to have tea parties with them.
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And they are laying eggs!  They are so pretty! Just like them!  They also are delicious… we’re swapping eggs for greens!

Next we gotta get some cows and goats up on the roof.  And a banana tree.   Then the dream is complete. 

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It’s nice to see all that bushy green welcoming us in the garden.  Bushy greens mean Summer is here!

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*DOES THE PUMPKIN DANCE*.  Oh yeah, we got our first pumpkin.   This guy was pollinated by hand with a little magical Q-tip.

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And this is Pumpkin #2!

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It’s starting to get a little wild with the cucumbers.  One day you have a bunch of flowers then suddenly you have a bunch of baby cucumbers!  I’ve already made my first batch of my Half Sour Pickles.  I’m thrilled to have them back! Here you see a nice sized Kirby cucumber and a baby one in the back.

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And here you’ll see another baby and a ultra baby still with it’s flower on it that hasn’t opened yet.  When it does we’ll help pollinate it by finding it a match. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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That’s the cucumbers up top and the pumpkins down bottom.  Also there’s a pine tree there.  So here’s the situation with the pine tree.  During the winter someone brought it up and left it right there.  Then a few days later they put a sign on it that said “Please don’t move tree, it’s ours”.  And then noone ever visited the tree again.  So the question is, did someone leave the tree for us to take care of (totally ok)?  Did someone forget about it?  It’s now pretty much dying because noone ever watered it.  A few days ago we started to water it because we felt bad.  The whole situation breaks my heart for the tree.  

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Last year we had great watermelon success so I’m happy to report the watermelons have started to show up in the garden!  Last count we had about 10.  I’m pumped about these too!

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The watermelon plants have started to peek their arms out.  Soon they’ll be taking over that section.

Now the Summertime heroes of the garden… tomatoes!

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We already got some big beef tomatoes hanging out.

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We got plenty of Roma tomatoes that will be soon be used for our favorite salsa!

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And here’s the cherry tomatoes! I spotted a few yesterday turning red.  High 5!

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Now for some super excitement.  Check out our first tomatillo ever!  This is the first year growing them so its been a bit of a learning process.

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I can’t get over how beautiful the tomatillo plant is.  It’s so bushy and tall. I was expecting it to be bushy but not that tall. I also wasn’t expecting that many flowers. I also wasn’t expecting the stalk to be so strong.   They’re amazing plants. 

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Another new vegetable we’re growing this year is the jalapeno. We have a few plants and already they have taken off and provided so many peppers to pick.  Pretty soon we’re going to have to do a big harvest of them.    I’ve also been snacking on these jalapenos whenever I can, including using them on sandwiches.  

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Here are some baby jalapenos that are just starting.  Isn’t nature beautiful?

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And here’s the bell peppers, always the warriors of the garden. This year we didn’t pinch the flowers early so they have begun producing already.  Hopefully the plants will continue to get bushy over the season.  

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Lots of carrots of all sizes.  Also just planted a whole new container of them.

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The broccoli and cauliflower got removed and soybeans moved in.  I always say I’m going to plant 10 soybean plants and somehow I always plant 50. I have no idea how that happens.

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There’s a entire box of onions. They’re pretty much ready to be picked.  

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There’s a entire box of radishes that were just picked.  This is Round 2 of the radishes already this year.  I just planted Round 3.  Don’t forget to read this page about how easy it is to grow radishes! 

Also I want to acknowledge the amount of weeds in the radish box.  This year we have been getting so many more weeds than regular years.  Usually containers don’t get weeds but something changed this year.    Fertilizer?  Something in the potting mix?  Maybe the chickens planted weeds all over. They sure love to eat them.

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Radish harvest!

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This is a large container full of kale in the back and bok choy in the front.

I have a funny story about the bok choy.  We meant to plant lettuce there.  Matthew planted the seeds and we thought all was well.  Then the plants started to come up and we were like “This is not lettuce”.  Then Matthew thought maybe it was kale but then we were like “This is not kale”.  Finally we realized Matthew grabbed the wrong seed packet and planted 8 new bok choy plants.  So looks like we’re going to have lots more bok choy!

I also want to talk about how I am battling Japanese Beetles on the Bok Choy.  A few leaves have bites in them.  I have been killing the Beetles which is hard for me to do, even though they are bad for the garden.  I have no killer instinct and usually try to talk the insects out of the garden but these Beetles are just not listening to me.  A few weeks ago I killed a entire family of them.  Then a few days ago I killed one with a A-clamp.  I know, what got into me?  I feel horrible but the A-clamp was there and I panicked.  Just stay out of our garden Beetles and we don’t have to go to war!

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Some odds and ends I collected that day.  

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Here’s the sugar snap pea plants!  I’m going to do a whole post dedicated to them real soon!  Sugar snap pea season came to a end a few days ago.  We took down the plants.  It’s always sad to cut them down. 

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A man on a mission to cut down some pea plants.  The peas did real awesome this year and we collected many pounds of them.  Right now I have a giant bag of them in my refrigerator that stresses me out everytime I look in there.  Let’s just say we have sugar snap peas for dinner every single night!  It’s ok though, they are delicious!

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The peas are down! Thumbs up dude.  After we took them down we planted some new seeds in their place.  We planted Gita green beans in both boxes with the tall fence.  Then in the box in the back we planted black and yellow beans.  All of these are bean experiments!  Sometimes you have to be brave and try new things!

Baby black bean plant just came up.  A beauty, right?
The good news is that many of the beans have already popped through the soil.  Check out this black bean.  Isn’t he gorgeous? Nature guys, nature!

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Besides the new beans we also planted new batches of radishes and carrots.  We also planted some spinach plants because they did so monstrous awesome last Summer.  Remember how crazy they got

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Brooklyn gardening y'all.  #carrots #carrot #watertower #rooftop #vegetablegarden #rooftop #NYC #Brooklyn #vegetables #healthyeating #garden #gardening #urbanfarming #urbangarden #containergarden #harvest  #gardenchat  #farmgirl #getgrowing #greenthumb #h

I hope you guys liked the garden update!  Let me know in the comments what’s happening in your garden.  I want to know all the details!

Happy Gardening!


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  • You have an amazing garden up on the roof. Actually you are the first person I know that has a roof top garden. That is an amazing idea and your veggies are doing fantastic. I can’t wait to see some of the fruits of your labour in your recipes. Have a super weekend. Take Care, BAM

  • Wow Pamela, so much stuff going on these days! First, LOVE the hair! So you. Love the new look to your blog, and I certainly appreciated your tips. And lastly, your rooftop garden. Just perfect! Lucky you. And cute are those chickens? I’m amazed you can have them up there. Here in Montreal, we’re not allowed to have them in the city. We had 2 roosters when I was a very young girl…I just saw these little yellow chicks in the window of a pet shop just before Easter and bought 2 for .50 cents. Of course I asked no one, I just went ahead and did it. Well, you could imagine my parent’s surprise…especially when those chicks became roosters! The police came one day because neighbour’s were complaining that they were being woken up by our roosters at 5:00 AM. That was the end of my farm animals in the city! xox

  • The chickens would be so fun to interact with! And great idea trading stuff from your garden for eggs. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can see some great salsa possibilities with that garden! I love roasting tomatillos, jalepeno, onion, and garlic in the oven and then giving it a few pulses in a food processor. So good!

    I had a question about the bugs and holes. I have an herb garden that I keep indoors, but the basil has some holes in it. I saw an earwig in there several weeks ago, but brought him outside to a new home. There are holes in new basil leaves now. I am thinking of taking it outside and shuffling around in the soil to get the bugger out. I also have diatomaceous earth, should I sprinkle that in there to ward off future intruders?

    • Hey Michelle, since diatomaceous earth is safe for us humans you can definitely try it on your basil plant. I would guess there are probably some bugs still sticking around the plant that you can’t see at first glance. One day I went up the garden and saw nothing but then I started digging around in the soil nearby and multiple bugs popped themselves out of it! Good luck, let me know how the basil plant is!

  • I thought that you had gotten chickens at first! Love how you get to enjoy them without all the work. My sister has chickens and they are fun to play with, but its not fun to clean the coop. Love how well your garden is growing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love the new design of your blog and your new hair. ๐Ÿ˜€ My last cut I had my gal give me heavy bangs. Took a while to get use to them. They are usually long so I can move them out of the way.
    Love this garden update. You have so many wonderful plants growing. I’d love to live next to you. You have such great success growing you should have a nursery!

  • Everything looks so great! I love experimenting – I try at least 5-10 new varieties every year. I need to put up my garden update soon. It’ll have to wait until next week, but you are so far ahead of my zone 4a…it’s not fair.

    My broccoli and cauliflower are big, but no heads yet and the peas are about 5 ft tall and just started flowering. My carrots, onions, potatoes (new this year!), beets, chard, cukes, and squashes (oh man…so many kinds!) are all just babies still.

    Soon though. Soon.

  • Love the new look blog – seems everyone is doing that except for me – it looks like so much effort to change. I am a bit nervous about it too. But yours looks lovely. Lovely photos too. Pretty eggs and lots of nice things ready to eat. I went away and let my garden for only a short few weeks and the broccoli and cauliflowers and cabbages growing very healthily have been eaten back to the bone, well stalks. Possums possums – they got the taste all right. I am now trying to nurse them along closer to the back door and hope my Maxy keeps them at bay!!

  • I love your new hair– I have short bangs too, like I mentioned on Instagram, and I love them!! So much fun! And it’s always nice to see clearly ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Look at those cute little chickens!! So many people own chickens in NZ and I have grown to love them! They are such hilarious, and smart little creatures. Sometimes they remind me of aliens though….in a good way…if that makes ANY sense at all….

    Look at your little pumpkin!!! It will be halloween before you know it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • So in love with your rooftop garden, half the reason we bought the house we did was because we have this beautiful hidden patch of grass behind a yard, perfect for growing veg, but we’ve yet to do it! Your blog gives me hope that we can get round to it, though. Loving the bangs ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love the hair cut and colorโ€ฆit looks great! Your garden seems to be thriving in the heat of the rooftop. My tomato plants are coming alongโ€ฆI’ll be picking cherries before long but it will be some time before the slicing tomatoes will be ready for harvest.

  • I love the new redesign,…so clean & cool!
    Your garden is doing really well, so is ine, but my garden is so much smaller!

    How do you handle snails & slugs?

    • Hey Sophie, thankfully I don’t have to deal with snails and slugs on the roof. What we do have to deal with though is aphids and Japanese Beetles, ugh!

      A tip though is to use crumbled up eggshells around your plant as a barrier. Snails and slugs won’t like that!

  • Woah, you look amazing. Love the new hair. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can’t believe you have chickens, in a roof top garden, that is truly the coolest thing I have heard in such a long time. Your garden is positively thriving.

  • Hello,

    I love your garden and would love to set one up on my roof! Would love to get started!

    Could you explain where to get the boxes and how to set it up???

    Could your neighbor do a guest post and explain how to set up a home for roof top chickens!!!

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