Chief Greenhouse Officer Jenn Earth Day

Ask Jenn: Your Plant Questions, Answered.

Words by

Gotham Greens Chief Greenhouse Officer Jenn

You asked, and our Chief Greenhouse Officer Jenn is here to answer your plant questions.

This Earth Month, many of us started planting for the first time. Whether that means herbs in your tiny studio apartment or veggies in your backyard, Jenn is here to help navigate growing during these times. Here are Jenn’s answers to your plants questions, and tips on growing more and and raising nature-lovers.

Q: Tips for growing indoors and in small spaces?
Load up your windowsill with houseplants! Spider plants, pothos and jade are great options that need minimal attention but will brighten up your space. You can also try herbs, but they’ll need a lot of light to keep up with how much you’ll want to eat them. Get them as many hours of direct sunlight as you can. If possible, take them outside for a bit!

Q: What are some kids book suggestions for raising nature lovers?
Bed time stories are always great. You can also use field guides to identify plants in your neighborhood, and spend time outside. Peterson has a kid’s series that I use with my own family. You can start by looking up street trees in your area, which will help narrow down which plants you’ll expect to find. Many of us are plant-blind, and don’t recognize many of the trees in our own area.

Q: My grocery store-bought herb plants always die, help!
Let’s check a couple things:

  1. Temperature: your house should be the right temperature for herbs, so you’re good here.
  2. CO2: you’re breathing in your house so you’re good here too.
  3. Light: herbs need lots of it, and our eyes aren’t the best indicators. What may seem like a sunny room, might not actually provide sufficient sunlight for your plant. Herbs will always grow faster outside in the sun, so if possible, get them some time outside (or in a greenhouse).
  4. Water: not too much, not too little. Don’t over saturate.
  5. Plant food: this is often forgotten. You can find this at the store with directions on how to use.

Q: How do I get into foraging?
Find a class! It’s important to have a proper ID before eating something from the wild. They’ll also tell you about ethical and legal harvesting.

Q: What can I grow on my townhouse rooftop in pots that aren’t really deep?
A ton of things. Herbs, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers – hot peppers are a lot of fun to grow. You might need trellising and wind protection depending on how high your rooftop is. 

Q: There is a spot on my plant’s leaf, why?
: Check a plant clinic! They are all over the place and can tell you what is happening with your plant.

Q: It’s cold here and my basil is dying. Can I still grow something?
Basil really likes hot, warm, bright weather, but there is still a lot you can plant. Check your USDA hardiness zone and last frost date. Use this to figure out what you can grow a few weeks before your last frost date. Greens, beets, carrots and lots of veggies can be planted in cold weather. Check your seed packet to see how early you can plant.

Have more plant questions? For more tips and answers from Jenn, check out our Q+A, here.


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