A green space for urban gardeners

Rain is good for the garden harvest and can be harvested

DSC00435DSC00440It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do to set plants on a healing path. Follow that with a dose of drenching rain and the most beleaguered of gardens will soon make a recovery.

One of the pitfalls of container gardening is that the sun which nourishes also tends to dry my plants out quickly, so frequent watering is a must. By the end of summer, skipping even a day can leave me with brown, shriveled flowering plants and edibles.

And while I’m committed to regular hoisting of the watering can, I’m always grateful when an all-day rain gives me a little relief. Plus, the plants seem to like rainwater more than that from the tap.

Which brings me to another pitfall of container gardening… There’s no room to apply some of the environmentally friendly options like composting or building rain barrels that those of you who have large yard gardens can. This HGTV

video shows how simple setting up a rain barrel system to harvest runoff for watering your garden can be.

I’m not the only one thinking about the environment. I’ve recently become one of the mentors to a group of inquisitive Chicago high school students participating in an environmental journalism reporting academy.

Called “Green in the City,” the program is a product of Columbia College’s journalism department. The students explore eco-related topics like urban gardening and work on stories for an online magazine.

They’re also sharing their thoughts on the environment in a blog of their own, so stop by to let them know you’re listening.

[Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you about what you’re doing to make your garden greener. And, if you’re looking for green landscaping ideas, check out the fabulous designs on Steve’s blog.]


  Jo wrote @

A lot of the allotment sites in Britain have a water supply where plot holders can fill their watering cans, or attach a hosepipe. Our site isn’t one of those, it doesn’t have a water supply at all, so it’s really important to collect as much rainwater as possible. I have lots of water butts, but no shed or greenhouse on the plot, so I can’t collect the rain which runs off the roof. I just have to collect whatever falls. It certainly makes you aware of how precious water is.
Your mentoring job sounds interesting. How old are the kids who are involved?

  City Diggity wrote @

I agree, rainwater is precious. I was talking to someone who lives in the desert today and he was telling me how important it was to conserve there. The students in the program are 15 and 16 and have introduced me to things like “plarn” (recycled plastic grocery bags woven like yarn to make purses and such πŸ™‚

  City Diggity wrote @

If Malaysia is anything like Florida where I grew up, we got short rains almost every day during the summer. But, it was so hot that we still had to use the sprinklers every day!

  Stephanie wrote @

Water is really the basic of keeping my plants healthy and hydrated. For some of my plants, I don’t even need to feed them fertiliser as they are already growing healthily just with water.

I learnt that rain water is better than tap water. Some plant do not like the mineral found in tap water. Hence, collecting rain water for our plants is a good thing πŸ˜‰ However, I am fortunate that the water rate here is not high. Else, my water bill is going to be very high… it is always hot here! But rains often too πŸ˜‰ TQ for the nice and informative video!

  jonna wrote @

just a short note to say hello, and what a nice blog you have=)

  Miss Daisy wrote @

I know what you mean. We recently went on vacation and I put my son in charge of watering the plants…even one day missed can kill the plants in pots. I tried to pound this into his head, but alas, I’ve lost a few. Sniff sniff. We are short on water this summer and I’ve been talking to my husband about investing in a water barrel. Our neighbor recently installed one and I’m impressed!

  City Diggity wrote @

Miss Daisy,
I know, I usually have to leave someone in charge of my watering for a week or so during the summer, and as great as they are, they never quite do the job I do. I have to head out and water in a few hours myself and I’m not looking forward to it. Cheers!

  Chicago Garden wrote @

I didn’t plan this…but I ended up doing a lot of water harvesting due to the loss of the water hose and outdoor water connection. I’ve had to improvise a lot and water by hand but it hasn’t been that bad.

  City Diggity wrote @

Chicago Garden,
So you’re an accidental harvester, eh? πŸ˜‰ I bet you’ll find it a difficult habit to break!

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