The Sonnier and Castle Rooftop Organic Garden is growing!

It took a little while, but our management team built 3 -16 ft, beds We planted them with all types of greens : Mizzuna, Arugula, Siberian Kale, Pac Choi ,Orientals and Frisse.

Although there is a limited time remaining before the frost, our chef is cutting them as micro greens to garnish dishes!

Sonnier and Castle just launched its newly branded website Check it out. The food shots are amazing!

I am having a ball leading this organization. I will be educating on roof top gardening in 2013.  (With roof expansion of course!)

See you in the Spring.



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If you can’t bring Mohammad to the mountain bring the mountain to Mohammad

When I return home from the busy week in New York City, I make my way into the garden within 15 minutes to check on my extended family!

I remembered that there is an accessible roof at the new company I administrate. It looks like Pike Lane Gardens will have an new adjunct location. Along with the help of the executive chef and his staff, I will be creating a 500 square ft rooftop garden. We will grow the majority of herbs needed for the Sonnier and Castle events, as well as some spring and fall greens. Of course, there will be heirloom tomatoes…. but I think they might stay “in house” as a corporate perk for the employees.

Next step…. Getting the wood up the ladder to build the beds!

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I am now a member of the weekend gardening club


I have recently accepted a CEO position in the New York Hospitality industry. I can now tell you first hand, what adjustments I have had to make.

It seems as though I have a new meadow of weeds in the garden. It is my priority to weed the actual beds that I am growing in. Weeds compete for the nutrients and water;  Weeding on a weekly basis will avoid  “the meadow factor”

Keeping the plants watered is essential. One inch per week is a good guideline. However, more is required during consecutive 90 plus degree days. Watering in the a.m. is best before the heat settles in. Fortunately, my wife’s watering skills are better than any
automatic system!

Feeding your plants is the last of the big three items.  I want to make sure that the plants are healthy and thriving. Scratching in some fish emulsion or blood meal every two
weeks will be helpful (make sure to keep a boundary of 4 inches around the base
of each plant to prevent burning.  But NOT  THE TOMATO PLANTs. Wait until your
plants flower before feeding, as the leaves will be plentiful, but not your tomatoes.

I will continue to pass along tips and recipes as the summer unfolds!

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Mulch NOW!

When I put my starter plants into the ground, I like to immediately mulch the remainder of the bed. Mulching will dramatically cut down on your weeds, retain the moisture more effectively, and keep you soil cooler when the temperatures start to climb.

Depending on your size of your garden (and budget), mulching 4 inches on top of the soil is ideal

You can purchase mulch at your local garden store. Depending on your tastes, you can use, chips and bark, Straw (not hay)), Black plastic or landscape fabric.

I purchase shredded bark in bulk. It is easier to breakdown and can be turned into your soil the following year.

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Getting a head start on your Tomato Plants

I have been using a product called Wall O Water for the past 3 years.

They are water holding tubes that encompass your tomato plant. You are able to plant your young seedlings into the ground as early late April!

The benefits of the product allow the heat to be absorbed in the side walls, which will warm your soil, moderate the temperature inside and protect the plants from the evening cold temperatures.

I buy  the original ones from the Producer “Wally” who lives in Dillon Montana.

A three pack costs approximately 12.00. They can be stored and reused for the following year.

I have been eating cherry tomatoes as early as mid June!



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Why Should I consider using Row Cover?

If you woke up with frost on your car windows from last night, you know that overnight temperatures were in the 30’s. Your root crops (carrots, beets, radishes) as well as lettuces can handle the cold temperatures. However, if you have planted your brassica’s, such as kale, swiss chard and broccoli, they need some extra protection.

All purpose garden fabric (Row Cover) has many benefits to aid your young plants. It will protect the plants from frost and wind damage, act as a cover for bugs (flea beetles love to chomp on young plants) and still allows rain and sunlight to make its way to the plants and soil.

It is a worthwhile and inexpensive investment to consider. I know my kale plants are happy!

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Safe to Sow

It looks like the freezing temperatures are behind us and you can feel confident to get your first seeds into the ground……….Carrots, Beets, Radishes, Bush Beans,  All of your lettuce greens and spinach.

When planting, make sure NOT to plant too deep. Most seeds require 1/4-1/2 deep or sprinkled on the surface (the lettuces.)

Once planted, it is very important to keep the soil moist (especially before germination and early growth)

Adam Tip: Use a potting soil mixture to top off your seed plants. Using a heavier top soil will effect aeration as well as lowering the percentage of plant germination.


Happy Seeding!!


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How about an easy understanding of pH?

I am sure that most of you have heard the term “did you test your soils pH? ”  and thought “this is just too technical for me to comprehend.”  Let me make it easier for you!

PH determines the Alkaline/Acid levels in your garden soil. Why is this important for vegetable gardeners?

Having the proper PH allows the optimal release of the Major Nutrients to amend the soil and allow your plants to maximize their growth and harvest. Most vegetables thrive between a level of 6.0-7.0

Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium are the big three. They will contribute to vigorous growth, strengthening root development and increasing disease resistance.

You can find several organic forms of these nutrients including organic matter (compost and aged manures) as well as overall organic fertilizer brands such as “Moo-Doo” and “Fox Farm”

You can purchase a simple soil testing kit at garden stores or contact your local Cornell Extension office and they will sample it right on site for you.

Remember, you are feeding the soil for optimal growth, not the individual plant.

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A bit of humor for the holiday weekend

Although summer is still some time away and your tomatoes have not even gone into the ground yet, I thought everyone would enjoy a good laugh. Happy holidays to all!

A woman’s vegetable garden is growing like mad, but the darn tomatoes won’t ripen. There’s a limit to the number of uses for green tomatoes and she’s getting pretty tired of it.

So she walks over to her neighbor’s and asks, “Your tomatoes are always red, while mine are always green. How do you do it?”

Her neighbor says, “Well, this may sound absurd, but here’s what you do. After dark, go out into your garden and take off all your clothes. When the tomatoes see you they’ll get embarrassed and blush. Tomorrow they’ll all be red, you’ll see.”

Well, what the heck, she figures. So she does it.

The next day her neighbor asks her how it went.

“So-so,” she said, “The tomatoes are still green, but the cucumbers are all 4 inches longer.”



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Getting Started in the Garden. Maybe Kale?

Here is my new column in Mens Journal. I think it will be helpful to all of you on the process of determining what you will grow this year and how to go about it.

This year is a Kale Extravaganza at Pike Lane Gardens. Yesterday was indoor seeding day. I planted over 350 Kale seeds,  including Fizzy, Dwarf Siberian, Red Redbor, a selection of Wild Kale’s and my proven winner, Siberian Kale.





THIS !!!

If you would like some individual attention or a private lesson, give me a shout. What a difference indoor seeding makes!

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