CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for June, 2009

Plants – and temperatures – go from one extreme to another

DSC00437Downtown Chicago’s weather went from zero to 60 seemingly overnight. Or, more accurately, from 60 to 90 — degrees that is. A great time to get my plants back outside, right?

Not necessarily… While sun and heat would appear to be the perfect prescription for perking up plants that had been sentenced to home confinement for days on end, it proved too much of a good thing for some. Here’s a recap:

On the upside, despite their time indoors (after work to the facade of my building forced me to clear my balcony garden), my flowering plants boxes still looked pretty good. [The lobelia pictured is a prime example.]

But, my herb/edibles planters were a different story. The marigold foliage had gone from bright Read the rest of this entry »

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Kid stuff: Sweet potato vine project has come a long way

DSC00428DSC00328DSC00268In my previous post I had high hopes and good intentions, which now, sadly, litter the wayside of that fabled well-paved road.

It’s after midnight on Friday and unfortunately my plants are not outside as I thought they’d be. I was right in noting that the work above my balcony was finished, but the crew boss informed me that it would be ill-advised to move my plants back outside on Wednesday because he worried that migrating dust from work alongside my neighbor’s unit would damage my plants.

So, I wait. He’d estimated that by end-of-day Friday I could start to put things right in my balcony garden. Of course, best laid plans and all, we had a very stormy Friday and they weren’t able to do any work on the building at all. I’m keeping Read the rest of this entry »

Raindrops help make a clean sweep in garden after dirty job

DSC00423I’ve never thought of myself as eccentric, but I dare say others might — had they seen me outside today. In the rain. Using an extension pole cleaning wand to wash down the clerestory windows above my balcony sliders.

In my defense, it was a light rainfall. And no thunder or lightning was involved.

The good news is that after three days of relentless banging, followed by the whirring and grinding sound of a metal blade meeting brick and mortar, I think the work above my balcony is finished. The metal scaffolding was mechanically Read the rest of this entry »

Flower boxes look good for now; but, I definitely need a new plan

DSC00403DSC00413No, dear friends, my plants are not happily basking outside today as I had planned.

Not because the weather didn’t hold up. Not even because I didn’t want to repeat all that lifting just to do it again in reverse a day and a half later. No, after stepping out onto my balcony with the best of intentions, I looked up — and then backed out. Or rather, backed back in… into my condo, that is.

I decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to tempt fate and mess about outside while a huge metal scaffolding platform hung overhead — no Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, my aching back: More stress than calm in garden this week

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A planter box (top) and tomato pot (above)

Sometimes you have to wonder if your garden is serving you or if you are serving your garden. The rhetorical question reared its head this week as I played musical chairs with my balcony garden plants.

Let me explain: Work is being done to the facade of our building and the dreaded stage was finally slated for my elevation on Tuesday. So, by 3 a.m. that morning I had painstakingly brought in five railing planter boxes, cell packs of flowers that I haven’t yet made room for, and too many clay Read the rest of this entry »

Configuring a planter box of herbs and assorted edibles

DSC00227DSC00353DSC00358Nothing is foolproof when it comes to the garden. (And I’ve been fooled enough times to prove it!) But, planting what will soon grow into a lush container of herbs and edibles is about as simple as it gets.

Today I assembled purchased plants, sprouts grown from seeds and seeds to sow directly for my two planters, which will feature herbs, edible flowers (and some leaves) and chives. I use 36-inch planters that attach to the Read the rest of this entry »

This and that: plant finds, artful secateurs, project updates

DSC00325DSC00339DSC00309There will come a point this summer when the phenomenon of “cooler by the lake” will provide a welcomed reprieve. But for now, when downtown Chicago can’t seem to string together two 70-plus days in a row, it’s not of great comfort.

Meanwhile my sprouts are outside fending for themselves over the cool nights and variably cloudy days. All the rain of late has washed away some of their identifying labels, so figuring out what’s what is going to be a challenge.

Oh well, I never promised you a rose garden. However, I do have a progress report on the projects started inside — plus some new plants and a very chic garden tool — to share with you: Read the rest of this entry »