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How to turn your pickup truck into a garden

garden in a truck
Ian Cheney, right, and Curt Ellis, creators of Truck Farm–now a movie!


Here’s the situation: You’ve been swept away by all this DIY-local food fabulousness, and you’re dreaming of your backyard garden and all of the homemade salsa you’ll be making from all those organic vegetables you’ll be growing.  Only—whoops! You don’t have a backyard.

The only remaining answer—so obvious I can’t believe you didn’t think of it—is to turn the bed of your pickup truck into a food production machine. Hey, that’s what Ian Cheney did, when he started his truck farm two summers ago.

Since then Cheney’s made a movie about it, started a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, and even started a contest to get people growing food in unusual spaces.

Once you get beyond the sight gag of an ’86 Dodge Ram truck with rows of tomatoes and beans brassicas coming up, what you see is the underlying lesson about how food can grow almost anywhere.

Growing spinach fire escape crate
Spinach and more growing in wine crates (Photo:

Fire escape
Claw foot tub
Old soda bottle
Milk crate

The time is now, New York. The city’s farmers markets are selling little adolescent plants that are waiting for your nurturing touch. You can even ask the seller how to best take care of the plant—how much sun, how much water.

And no need to be anxious about what to do next. You can take a class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the Bronx Botanical or the Horticultural Society of NY, and cultivate your green thumb.

Whether it’s a pick up truck or an old suitcase, it might just be a great home to your future summer salad ingredients. —Jerusha Klemperer