CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Herbs

Veggies sized right for a small- space garden; plus, a recipe using the teeny Thai eggplant

DSC01009Adaptability. To my way of thinking, it’s the most important tenet of urban gardening.

Translation: assess your space and find plants that work within said space.

I have a 5 x 12 foot balcony, so I can’t plant towering fruit trees or endless rows of corn. I can’t grow the huge purple aubergine so fabulous in eggplant parmesan, but I can grow the tiny but Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme – and sweet potatoes?

It’s 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say that I’ve just clipped fresh herbs from my balcony garden to use in preparing dinner — parsley, sage, rosemary and, yes, thyme.

And I’d say the holiday arrives just in the nick of time, since the forecast has temps dipping precipitously tonight and I’m not sure the garden will last past the next few days.

As I’ve got more preparation to do in the kitchen, I just wanted to briefly share with you some of the 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 »

Progress report: Hey, there’s actual progress to report!

DSC00467DSC00466DSC00471The 4th of July was the kind of day every garden needs — to my mind, at least once a week or so. It rained all day, not a hard, raucous rain, but a soft and gentle one. A rain that caressed the plants — from leaf to root — encouraging them to new heights.

And, of course, it gave the weary container gardener a day’s reprieve from having to hoist the watering vessel.

By Sunday morning the rain was a misty memory, and by the afternoon I was able to get out on the balcony and take advantage of the last day of the three-day hiatus from workers doing their best Spider-man impressions on the south face of our building.

I surveyed the planters and pots and took stock of what needed to be done to fill in the thin spots. I think I’ve mentioned before that I had extra plants in a flat that I held on to in case I needed to replace Read the rest of this entry »

Lots of places where gardens could take root in cities

2009-06-30_15.26.22-1

Blue wildflowers suggest there's a garden longing to bloom on this undeveloped site.

There’s a conspicuously vacant lot on my block.

Its original low-rise buildings were razed some time ago in anticipation of the coming of a condominium tower. But that work ground to a halt a few months back — perhaps another casualty of these tough economic times.

Despite the building boom of the last 10 years, it’s not the only undeveloped plot of land I spied while driving through my downtown neighborhood. There was even one that seemed to be spontaneously becoming a garden, with pretty blue flowers popping up on its perimeter.

I immediately switched into “what if” mode: What if Read the rest of this entry »

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 »