Being fortunate enough to outdoor space in New York City, my first attempts at balcony gardening was in 2018. When you love fresh food, growing some kind of food is a no-brainer. When you’re limited to smallish containers, the smaller root systems will limit the size of your yields. Do no not expect large veggies. Choose tiny crops, like cherry tomatoes, baby eggplant, any variety of tiny hot peppers, or just be okay with harvesting small crops.
Even though I live in the one of the most urban cities in the world, really I’m a country boy at heart. Rustic environments are where I feel most comfortable, not the slick and modern. I love nature, not afraid of a little dirt, and need to be around water and trees. The scent of grass and sound of birds chirping puts me at such ease. For this reason, when I moved to Astoria I chose an area that could get me closest to this Zen feeling far from the sound of the subway. A quaint area near Astoria Park is where I landed.
Having grown up with my father gardening in the back yard, I wanted to introduce homegrown food into my cooking during the growing seasons. I don’t always know what I’m doing. But its fun figuring it out!
Summer 2020 was certainly difficult as NYC was shut down beginning in March. Not being able to go to Home Depot to buy seedlings meant that I had to get creative. I ended up extracting some seeds from store bought tomatoes and planting them indoors. Yup, it was a good indoor pandemic activity. Someone told me that store bought tomatoes would not work out. I was told they wouldn’t produce fruits and they were completely wrong. Maybe it depends on the type of tomatoes you choose? Who knows. I chose to extract from a cute brand of heirloom cherry tomatoes, can’t remember the name.
A weird thing that happened in the 2020 growing season was a ripening problem. Very few tomatoes ripened. I thought I was doing something wrong, but tomato growers I know from all parts of the country (as far as Seattle) had the same problem. So, decided it was time to make Fried Green Tomato Bites.