CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Herbs

Weather or not: If your garden’s taking the heat, you’d better count your blessings

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It often feels like so much of balcony gardening comes down to waiting on the weather. More than one post on this blog has pivoted on the intemperate turns the weather has taken here in Chicago.

And some of my weather adventures in my small-space balcony garden high above the city streets have bordered on slapstick—at least in retrospect (smile). Not quite as funny in real time when I was scurrying about in overpowering winds trying to right terracotta pots only to have them Read the rest of this entry »

If garden is a work in progress, then start by working with what’s already there

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Confession time. I didn’t clean up the wilted and battered relics of my balcony container garden at the end of last season before the soil froze over. I also have been slow to get this season’s garden up and running. I add a random plant here, sprinkle a few seeds there, sweep up one corner of my deck one day, bag up a broken pot the next.

As you can imagine it’s been slow going and frankly, it’s still a work in progress. But I suppose a garden always is, right? You’re constantly making changes and additions, and of course marveling at the surprise changes not of your own making.

PetuniareturnsOne of the advantages of procrastinating with my small, urban garden is that it gives some of the plants that have re-seeded on their own a chance to pop up and perhaps set the basis for the overall arrangement. I recognize the leaves of one of my standard bearers, petunias, at their very early stages so it was easy to begin work from there.

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Beating the sweltering summer heat in your urban garden

“Hot town, summer in the city.”

Mercifully, after several days of extreme, upper 90s heat, Chicago received relief today.

Not only was it about 10 degrees cooler, but we also were treated to a nice drenching rain. For urban container gardeners who’ve had to be super vigilant about keeping those plants hydrated, it’s good to get a night off.

Yes, I said “night,” because as we’ve covered previously, that’s the absolute best time to water. “…at night it’s a different world.”

Plus, in this case, it saves the dedicated gardener having to labor beneath the day’s ultra-violet rays.

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Garden is the perfect antidote for the stress of long days

As the sun set on the first day of summer, I reflected on the state of my balcony garden — which, sad to say, is still in its infancy.

The crush of months of unrelenting work, plus a stubborn bug that zapped any remaining energy I had at the end of the day, has resulted in a slow start. I’m still adding plants as the days progress, and I have to admit that for once I didn’t go into the season with a well-crafted plan.

I had the usual abundance of seed packets, and even picked up a few more that displayed photos which struck my fancy… But, the visions of color

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Nature cuts garden down to size

The weather. It can definitely do damage to a fledgling garden.

But, before we talk about that, let me take you back a couple weeks… When I looked out at the overabundance of seedlings (in my zeal I used about 150 peat pellets) I’d planted for this season’s garden I thought I may have gone a little overboard.

Nature, however, has a way of leveling things out. Torrential rains hit Chicago a few days later, which had me flashing on a scene from the old movie, “Tammy and the Bachelor,” in which the Debbie Reynolds character scurries about in a downpour, Read the rest of this entry »

The garden started without me: spontaneous blooms are the first of season

I’ve been slow to get my sprouts into the garden, what with waiting out the weather and other distractions. Apparently, though, the garden decided it wouldn’t wait for me.

Despite the fact that I pretty much build my garden on annuals because I don’t expect anything sitting in plastic planters on an exposed balcony, enduring the harsh Chicago winter and winds, to regenerate — I’ve been pleasantly surprised in recent days…

Things started to sprout spontaneously in the Read the rest of this entry »

Seed obsession: it grows on you

In the future (very distant, I hope) someone will be going through the basement of my last known residence and they’ll come across box upon box, filled to overflowing with packets of seeds. Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m a hoarder.

It all starts innocently enough: I’ll see a pretty, colorful picture adorning a seed pack online or at the local garden store that I just can’t resist. …Or perhaps I’ll succumb to a two-for-one sale.

I always have every intention of planting the seeds that season, but when all is said and done I realize Read the rest of this entry »