Urban Gardening: A Great Escape

fire_escape

A fire escape in NYC is as close to a balcony as some New Yorkers can get.  Some are larger than the standard 3-4 foot deep metal landings, giving way to mini porches with small folding chairs and plants of all kinds.

metroscape

This is dear friend Laura Bellmont’s garden (laurabellmont.com).  Before you put anything outside: **This IS against fire code!  It’s a fire hazard and your building may be asked to remove everything off the fire escape by the FDNY or even get fined!  Yikes!

BUT, I have known plenty of renegade urban gardeners who grew lush tomatoes, herbs, small flowers out there anyway.  Most of those
mini gardens grew on the back sides of the apartment buildings out of plain sight, never being bothered by pesky codes for our safety.

laurascape

Safety, safety safety.

All I’m saying is, PLANT AT YOUR OWN RISK!  Just be smart, keep things off to the sides, use miniature plants, keep things on the sill.  These steps looks beautiful but it is really quite dangerous.  Maybe just one per step!

not-to-code

If you are going to hang anything from the railing, twist some medium gauge wire around to keep everything in place.  Pick plants that are small, can move with the wind and especially ones that are not top heavy.  Think grasses, lavender, nasturtiums, parsley, cilantro and chives.

The wind is stronger than you think and even stronger on your fire escape, so plan for a wind storm!

Your watering schedule in the warmer days of the summer may be more than an average garden. Again with the wind, it can dry the soil
out pretty quickly. So a good soak in the morning and another in the evening will keep thing happy and green.

Good Luck!