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Jun 11, 2010
My New York City garden
Amanda Green  Guest Blogger 2010

When Burpee Home Gardens contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in blogging about gardening, I was pretty sure they'd reached out to the wrong person. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City. Central Park is as close to a garden as I get. And even though I live very close to it, I have nothing to do with those plants and trees.

Truth is, I also have a bit of a black thumb. Okay, more than a bit. I manage to kill even the most low-maintenance plants. My oldest houseplant is a succulent that I'm beginning to think must be artificial. It's seen a lot of comrades die in the war zone that is my sunny kitchen window.

I emailed Burpee back to let them know that, "Actually, I live in an apartment and haven't touched soil with my bare hands for at least four years. And don't even get me started on my experiences with jade plants back in 2008!"

But I do have a fire escape window that gets some sun. Hmmmm...

Burpee thought things might work out.

And that's how I ended up hauling two large boxes of 12 plants on the subway. They were carefully labeled "Live Plants," which piqued the interest of more than a few of my fellow passengers.

"Are they, like, trees and stuff?" one girl asked.

"What kinds of plants? Can I have one?"

"Oh, PLANTS? I thought the box said 'pants!' So where are you gonna put 'em?"

That was an excellent question. But more pressing was my concern that the fragile little guys had already died en route to NYC. The postal service is hard on basic letters and packages from Amazon. What might it have done to young vegetable plants?

I don't have a nice backyard to tackle the project, so I put the boxes down in my hallway and got to work. Though the plants definitely experienced upheaval, everything was green and looked ready to grow. (Oh, and the herbs! The herbs smelled so good, I considered putting them in my dinner that night). My biggest confusion: The markers identifying which plant is what were all in a jumble. I know a tomato plant when I see it, but I have a few different types of tomato plants! I feel so ... gourmet.

So here's my garden — a fire escape off my humble Manhattan living room three stories in the air. I've caught neighbors peeking while I water the plants. I like to think they're rooting for them. I know I am!

Reader Comments (6)
This is so sweet!! I live in an attic studio apartment, and I'm now inspired! My daughter already has a few basil plants, that she grew from seed. They smell so good! All the best to you, in your endeavor. Thank you for keeping us posted!
Friday, June 11, 2010 | Tricia Alessio
Hey Amanda,
Congratulations on your "Burpee Challenge!" You are going to make your parents proud now that the green thumb mantel has been passed down to you.

Are you planning to re-pot the plants? There are some great ways to maximize your fire escape floor space if you care for some design ideas I have. How many of the "larger" growing plants do you have: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, etc. Herbs will take up the least amount of space.

You can hang some planters from the rails and do some fun "double dutch" planting. Let me know!

Shirley Bovshow
Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Shirley Bovshow
Thanks, Tricia! My tomato plants look pretty happy. The herbs on the other hand...oops. I'm trying to revive them.
Sunday, June 13, 2010 | Amanda Green
Hi, Shirley! I'd love to know more! One of my friends has been telling me I should make a hanging garden, but I don't know where to get started.
Monday, June 14, 2010 | Amanda Green
I'm gonna do what I can to put my green thumb to use. On a side note, I had to trim Larry. He got a bit... out of control. And yes, I am talking about a plant.

Pruning is necessary!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Mike
does the NYC Fire Dept. allow people to stock things ...sorry ... plants in the fire stairs? shouldn´t the escape ways be free in case of emergency? although I love the green thing -sorry again- I´m worried about safety.
I live in a 2000 sq mt land field.. how could I contact Burpee? is there any intn´l Burpee branch?
Saturday, September 4, 2010 | scotchcandy
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