Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sustainable Saturday -Not Just Trees Grow in Brooklyn

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of visiting a childhood friend, who has lived in Brooklyn (a borough of New York City) for many years.  Right now she is battling cancer and I wanted to send some blog love her way.

She and her husband own their own home.  As is the case with many homes in Brooklyn, there is very little space.  Can sustainability be possible in that small space?  Yes.   City homeowners can do a lot with that small space.  They may not be able to grow all of their own food, but they can give it a good effort.  Yes, it is possible to grow fresh herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, basil, lemon balm, and more in a New York City garden.

Not just trees grow in Brooklyn.
Here is the front yard of one of my friend's neighbors.  A typical Brooklyn yard, it is jammed with ornamentals and even a former birdbath with a pot in it.  Former?  Well, New York City has cracked down on standing water during mosquito season - including bird baths. Water in a bird bath in NYC can be quite costly.

My friend only has a limited amount of dirt.  In her dirt, she has a rosemary plant, and a fragrant rose.  In various containers, she has strawberries and lemon balm.  

Here are her strawberries, in bloom.

Here are some more of her herbs.  My friend was also transplanting tomatoes when I visited..  Her basils, for some reason, had all died suddenly that afternoon.  As for the fragrant rose on the right side, it was past peak.  But these roses would have made an excellent potpourri.

Only a couple of fresh blooms remained,  Here is one I am holding up, to show its size.

I wish my friend the best of gardening luck this summer.  And it would be great if you would leave a note for her (she reads my blog), too.

Please note:  The Sustainability Saturday post for next Saturday will be on Friday instead, since I am beginning another blog challenge on June 2.  But it should be back the following Saturday.

Do you have a limited space, like my Brooklyn friend?  Are you a city gardener?  How, if you do strive for some self-sufficency, do you accomplish that?


  1. I love sweet little spots that can be found on a walk. What a lovely job your friend has done.

    I manage to keep a few herbs in some window boxes on my balcony--I've added lettuces, too. I just love having a little bit of a garden, no matter how small.

    1. Good luck with your balcony gardening. We did that many years ago when my husband and I were first married and we had a one bedroom apartment with a small balcony in Tampa, FL. It was fun.

  2. I think it's great that folks are finding ways to become sustainable and help the environment and themselves. I've seen on some sites they even remove the front yard grass and put in sustainable plants. Every sustainable plant has so many benefits to the earth, holds onto the water so it doesn't go into the waste streams, refills the aquifers, brings nutrients to the soil etc.

    1. There are people in New York City who roof top garden. (maybe even living roofs - wouldn't be surprised.) I think one of these roof gardens may be visible (that's what I've heard, anyway) from the Hi Line-an elevated rails-to-trails I hope to walk one day.

  3. I used to live in "Brooklyn." We rented the top of a house.
    Sending healing energies to your friend. I have 10 feet of grass on either side of my tract house here in Arkansas.
    I am considering starting with pots of herbs and gradually adding sustainable plants that can handle the heat.

    1. Thank you for your good thoughts! I lived in Arkansas long ago - on 34 acres. Quite different from my friend living in her small city lot. Good luck with container gardening - you might want to check out something called an "Earthbox" which has a self-waterer. We've used it successfully in our upstate NY garden although it does not get as hot (for as long) as Arkansas does.


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