FRESH AIR: Tomato plants growing on a fire escape. (Photo: wockerjabby/Flickr)
Many visions of the eco-friendly City of the Future involve LEED certified buildings, revolutionized energy suppliers and eco-friendly transportation systems. There is a way for the layman to start greening her city today that is simple and easy — turning wasted space into green space.
With approximately six percent of NYC space classified as vacant, gardens have been springing up around the city. Documentary filmmaker and Brooklynite Todd Bieber turned an unused patch of dirt in his neighborhood into a vigilante garden in this video:
Not everyone has the energy or guts to start their own potentially illegal garden. Plus, there are certainly other ways for the city dweller to garden without imperializing someone else's property — the easiest one being the fire escape garden.
Some of the best vegetables for growing in pots on a potentially shady escape are greens, potatoes, herbs and beans. Greens are great because they grow quickly and are very cost-effective. Potatoes grow well in a large, 32-gallon bucket which will test once and for all how sturdy that fire escape actually is. Having a couple small pots of herbs to reach out your window and clip is a refreshing and exciting way to spice up a dish. And beans are grown because, with a little finagling, they can grow up the beams as a trellis.
Now that winter has settled in across the Northeast, it's a good time to start dreaming and plotting your garden for spring!
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