Sure, you can buy garden-variety seeds at the hardware store, but if your tomatoes were intended for a suburban backyard, how will they fare in a 10-inch pot? Like people, plants that thrive here are a special breed, at home in cramped quarters and gritty conditions. That’s why farmer Zach Pickens—who tends the urban farm over at Riverpark in Manhattan—developed a side business selling seeds selected specifically for city life. All Rooftop Ready varieties—like Jade Bush Beans, which do well in window boxes or shallow buckets—are hand-collected from the sturdiest specimens on urban farms, including the one atop Pickens’ own Bushwick apartment. Most of his source plants have been Brooklyn residents for at least five years—which makes them cooler than your roommate—and a few were passed down by BK old-timers, so they’re all down with container living and the metro-area microclimate. Packs, $3.75, available at Rose Red & Lavender in Williamsburg and Hayseed’s Big City Farm Supply in Greenpoint. And if you’re lucky enough to have a little yard, they’ll do just fine in the ground, too.
Photo credit: Zach Pickens