Tag Archives: gardening

Just Hanging Out (of a fourth floor window)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Happy holiday weekend. Everyone leaves New York City, and for those of us who have to stay it’s party time! This particular morning I am skipping the gym and enjoying the break in the oppressive heat to plant my window boxes. I assembled the boxes and filled them with dirt earlier in the week – you can see that article here, too.

So, with a cup of coffee in one hand and Country Legends 97.1 streaming through my bluetooth, it’s time to get our hands dirty.

plant1

Earlier in the week I went around town and sourced my plants. I ended up with the following:

  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Dill
  • Flat Leaf Parsely
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Thyme
  • French Lavender
  • Sweet Potato Vines
  • Geraniums (for color)

Different plants like varying degrees of moisture, and for that reason I grouped the more tuberous, leggy things together (the first six herbs) and the woodier herbs together (the next 5). I also dropped a sweet potato vine and a geranium in both boxes for color and aesthetics. Yes! geraniums are basic, but the petals are edible. I wanted marigolds – also edible and a natural insect repellent – but sometimes you use what you got.

plant6

plant7

Get those suckers in the dirt. Leave ample room around them, and encourage the ones that cascade to do so. Be sure and plant the vine near the edge. It will cascade spectacularly. To avoid transplant shock really give them a solid watering once they’re in the dirt. You will eventually need to spike the basil if you choose to plant that, but that’s down the road. Mint is very leggy and can get aggressive; you’ll want to harvest it whether you choose to use it or not. Give it to your mojito loving friends!

plant2

OOOWEE the Oak Ridge Boys are singing to me! Time to warm up for the show. Enjoy your beautiful boxes and start planning how you’re going to use your window box bounty! The Gentleman Caller will continue to share articles and ideas about how to creatively use your home-grown herbs.

plant3

The Gentleman Caller signing out.

xoxo

The Gentleman Caller’s Homemade Miracle Gro Liquid Fertilizer

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

It’s planting season. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to go to all the trouble of nurturing my little babies, I want them to grow, grow, grow!

Now there are countless options in the realm of commercial fertilizers, but! why not round up a few household items, AND some things you were going to compost or throw away and concoct your own?

This easy liquid fertilizer will deliver nutrients to your plant progeny and won’t break the bank.

What you need:

  • 1 gallon jug (I repurposed a well-cleaned washer fluid bottle. Free.)
  • 1 tbsp epsom salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ammonia
  • used coffee grounds
  • egg shells
  • water

Using a funnel, pour epsom salt, baking soda, and ammonia into your gallon jug.

Add used coffee grounds. You can continually add used coffee grounds day after day.

Add crunched up egg shells. You may continue to add egg shells as you cook the actual insides.

Put it in a cool dry place. Allow to steep. Give it a shake every day or so.

After about 2 – 3 weeks, it will be ready to start using. If you want to be fancy, you can strain the solids out. It’s not necessary, but it’s up to you.

Add the liquid fertilizer to the dirt around plants, not to the foliage of the plant itself.

Enjoy, and watch the fruit of your labor!

 

The Gentleman’s Cucumber Trellis

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Here it is once again, my friends. Creeping up on one of my favorite times of the year, when the temps get warm enough to start thinking about putting plants in the earth.

Getting my hands dirty is one of the most satisfying things you can possibly do. I come from a long line of gardening gentlemen on both sides of my family. When I was a kid growing up, I never fully appreciated the gift of fresh from the garden food. It doesn’t taste the same as store bought food.

So I am challenging you, friend, to take up the task and feed yourself!

If you think you have a black thumb, stop. The Gentleman Caller is here to offer you some tips and insights to make your experience easy and efficient.

Today I offer my cucumber trellis.

The cucumber trellis is a simple lean-to structure. You can affix it to a fence, outdoor building, garage, any structure with some integrity.  It will allow your cukes to grow upward rather than spread on the ground. This makes harvesting easier, and will likely give you an increase in your yield.

I used a wooden fence. Watch the YouTube video for full instructions.

I hope you are motivated to get a-growing!

All for now,

The Gentleman Caller

Pin this on Pinterest!

 

Window Sill Splendor from some guy’s trash

Knock Knock Knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Honestly I should have done this one earlier in the season, but sometimes life gets in the way of best laid plans, right? So here we are in a heat wave and I am deciding it’s time to PLANT.

Right now I am in New York City and let’s face it: no one has outdoor space here. A lot of people in regular America don’t either. This project is for you. Condo people, apartment dwellers, all of ya’ll whose soul is yearning for dirt to dig in but don’t know where to find it.

Thursday night is “Big Trash Night” in Manhattan, meaning that people put out big things. It’s astonishing what you see on the streets. Mannequins, sofas, baby cribs, washing machines, tv’s, and the most useful for today’s purposes: CHEST OF DRAWERS. (Below is an example, not the actual one I got…just proving my point!)

win0

I was on the way to do the show and someone had put out a vintage midcentury chest. It was beat up, but looked clean. I walked on to work and thought DRAWERS. I had the intent to build out some window boxes from scratch, but why not source those deep dove-tailed drawers for window boxes? I spent the entirety of the show focusing on whether or not the chest would be there when I got home. Eureka, it was! So I drug a few drawers up to my place and thoroughly disinfected them and myself. (Note: don’t EVER pick up something with soft surfaces or fabric off the street unless you want some bedbugs.)

Let’s get to the real work.

Put down a drop cloth. Make sure your drawers are clean. If you want to hit any varnished areas with sandpaper, knock yourself out. These aren’t going to last for the rest of your life so you don’t need to be that meticulous. The moisture of the dirt is going to rot them over time so be as meticulous as you want, but don’t get crazy. Unless you ARE crazy and that’s just how you do things.

win1

Remove the hardware. You can save this for another project if it’s pretty.

win2

Paint those suckers. Or don’t. If you like the wood tone and you want people to know it used to be a drawer, that’s a valid aesthetic choice. Don’t be afraid of color here. I can be timid about color; I wear a grey t-shirt every single day. But in honor of this project I have on purple Converse. Let your house/dwelling/domicile be your grey t-shirt and your window box be your purple Cons!

win3

win6win7

While you’re letting the paint set up, go get you some hardware. Based on what kind of ledge you have or don’t have, you can use mending plates or L brackets. I am using mending plates and shimming the underside of the drawers with some 1×6. Shimming is the process of leveling something with smaller pieces of wood that you ideally do not want to see. If you are using L brackets you might be level without shims.

win8

Measure out where you want them. Symmetry is sublime.

Affix the hardware. Use a substantial wood screw so you have some structural integrity. No one wants to clean up a box full of dirt. Yes, I took my shirt off – I am f****** melting. You’ll read why in a sec.

win9

Screw those boxes in place.

win10

win12

Drill some drain holes in the bottom of the box.

win14

Paint out the exposed hardware if you want. And if you have exposed hardware, you definitely should want. 🙂

win13

A standard drawer is going to hold about a cubic foot of dirt before being planted (this is assuming you’re using plants already started from a home improvement center or nursery). Please have more sense than me and don’t try to schlep 2 cubic feet of dirt home in sacks on your shoulders through midtown Manhattan in the midst of a heat wave. I wish I had a photo to insert here, but you’ll have to use your imagination.

Plant those suckers. Be creative; flowering plants and herbs coexist peacefully. Be sure to drop some vine-type plants over the sides. Sweet potato vines are a little banal, but damn if they don’t always look nice. Vinca vine is always nice. If your box is going in a spot that gets blasted with sun, a patio tomato plant is not out of the question.

win15

Find out about planting combinations in the next article! Wishing you and your green thumb much success.

This is The Gentleman Caller signing out.

xoxo