CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Heirloom tomatoes

Tomatoes give one last harvest for the road (and posterity)

DSC00827DSC01031As I cleared away the debris of expired plants from my balcony, I smiled — imagining archaeologists a century from now examining the boards of my deck and finding the fossilized remains of small-fruited heirloom tomatoes that had rolled into crannies and become unwitting players in history.

And next, bring on the anthropologists, to hypothesize about early 21st century urban dwellers and their desperate efforts to secure green space and achieve some small measure of sustainability.

Let me back up a bit in telling this story: About 10 days ago, I went outside to survey the garden since I’d pulled up stakes and called it a wrap for Read the rest of this entry »

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Gather ye seed pods while ye may. But after that, what?

DSC01066DSC00813DSC01079I’ve learned a lot from other garden bloggers. At the very least I’ve been inspired to seek out new learning.

So a few months back when a fellow tomato fancier asked if I’d be interested in trading seeds with her, my curiosity was peaked.

(You see, for several years now I’ve been growing heirloom tomatoes using seeds purchased from a catalog. They’re cheap — less than $3.00 a packet — so paying for new ones every season seemed a minimal, yet high-yield investment.)

Eager to learn, I quickly acquiesced. Of course, I had no idea how to get the seeds from the tomatoes to swap. She assured me it was easy peasy.

That was in the spring and I hadn’t thought about Read the rest of this entry »

Tomatoes indoors? Plants keep producing despite relocation

DSC01025About a week or so ago when a freeze warning was announced I finally gave up the garden, leaving my summer pride and joy on the balcony to suffer the chilling winds of the changing seasons.

Some of the sturdy herbs I left out in hopes they’ll last till Thanksgiving when I can fold parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme into the traditional dishes.

But the basils, jalapeno and my fancy leaf geranium were pulled inside to be turned into pesto, pickled peppers and a favored house plant. Harvesting and saving a thing or two is pretty much a part of my yearly garden ritual, but I did Read the rest of this entry »

Denial: not just a river in Egypt, but thriving in a Chicago garden

DSC00914DSC00927DSC00995It’s pretty obvious that I’ve refused to acknowledge fall’s arrival 10 days ago — even in the face of the horrible weather that’s plagued Chicago this past week.

One day it was gale force winds (actually, I’m not sure how much force needs to be exerted to rate gale, but it was pretty severe); then it was temps that were hard pressed to break 60 degrees; and finally came the chilly, steady rain.

All these signals that the garden’s days are numbered, yet still I’m in that happy state called denial, fueled by the combination of hope and unreasoned belief that tell me there will be — have Read the rest of this entry »

Even a small-space garden can produce an edible bounty

DSC00820DSC00894Thursday I harvested the first of my rosalita heirloom tomatoes — one bunch of five perfectly proportioned pink grape gems.

After popping a fruit into my mouth, I noted the flavor was softer and sweeter than the wild cherry tomatoes I’d previously picked. And, by-the-way, I plucked multiple clusters of that heirloom from its plant that day, as well.

While I love the intimacy of my small balcony garden, I must admit to occasionally indulging in some rather big dreams. I fantasize about living Read the rest of this entry »

Quick pasta dish with heirloom tomatoes and freshly cut basil

DSC00878If you’re like me, you have countless stories of all-day prep-a-thons, followed by the all-day cook-a-thons that precede a big sit-down dinner for family and friends.

And when a holiday meal is in the works, the pressure increases with the number of place settings.

The rest of the time, though, most of us are just looking for tasty meals that don’t eat into busy Read the rest of this entry »

The survivors: three heirloom tomato plants still standing

DSC00838DSC00828DSC00840While reading accounts of bountiful harvests by garden bloggers around the world, I’ve waited patiently, hoping my day would come.

Well, despite the setbacks I’ve faced this year in the cultivation of my small-space balcony garden, I can at last proclaim: I have tomatoes!

Not as many as I anticipated when I began this year’s gardening adventure, but the fact that I was overambitious has perhaps paid off, since half of too much turns out to be quite enough. Wild cherry, rosalita and isis candy heirlooms endured Read the rest of this entry »