CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Other edibles

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 »

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Any given Sunday, first light is a good time to be one with garden

DSC00658DSC00766DSC00780(2)I’ve previously revealed my nocturnal watering habits. Well here’s another of my rituals: sneaking out at 5:30 a.m. for a little Sunday morning quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do it every Sunday — and frankly, it sometimes follows not having gone to sleep at all (I am an unabashed night owl) — but I do try to flip the script every then and again and take advantage of these solitary seasonal moments.

When I do, it’s just me, a piping hot beverage and some inspirational reading material. (One of my favorites is Anna Quindlen’s “A Short Guide to a Happy Life,” which holds up to numerous repeat-readings.)

Sunday is the day — and dawn is the time of day — that the noise of Chicago’s elevated train gives us urbanites a much-needed respite. It’s also before 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 »

Color my world… with lavender – it’s a real ‘scent’-sation, too

Lavender has so many uses, not to mention it smells wonderful.

A new lavender plant, in a well-weathered pot, is set to move out to my balcony for summer.

Lavender. If its loveliness isn’t enough to justify its existence, just wait for a gentle breeze and inhale: the aromatic herb’s knockout fragrance will doubtless seal the deal.

I have a friend who’s been a longtime lavender booster, and about four years ago I joined the fan club. And, as we’ve been discussing using herbs in the kitchen, let me say — modestly of course — that my lavender cookies have become legend.

Lavender can be used in many other baked goods, too. And, I also use powdered sugar flavored with Read the rest of this entry »

Four dollars and a dream: is a windowsill lettuce crop possible?

I'm hoping that this lettuce will survive and thrive on my condo windowsill.

Here's hoping this leaf lettuce will survive and thrive on the windowsill of my Chicago condo.

We’ve talked about growing heirloom tomatoes as an entree into recession gardening, well, now dare we dream of cultivating a companion crop of lettuce, too?

I recently read somewhere in cyberspace that it was relatively easy to grow lettuce on your windowsill — and to keep it going! And while I always assumed lettuce required lots of space, who am I to argue with the Worldwide Web.

So today, when glancing at the plant offerings on flats outside my local grocery store I stopped and took notice of the lovely cell packs of lettuce and thought: I have an empty windowsill, so why not Read the rest of this entry »

Seeds of time: a couple of fast starters for slowpoke gardeners

Nasturtium seeds are large and they sprout quickly.

Nasturtium seeds sprout quickly, so they'll make up the time lost if you procrastinate.

Winter blew out of Chicago a few nights ago with thunderous exultation. And the rain rained down. The next day temperatures reached 80. Of course it’s cooled off a bit since, but there is the definite feeling that the worm has turned (yes, a pun for you in-ground gardeners).

Even Burpee is on board. Three of the plants I ordered from them arrived on the very day that temperatures soared. So, container gardeners start your engines… we’re just three short weeks or so away from the time when we can introduce our plants to the great outdoors.

If you haven’t started any seeds yet and are lamenting the fact that because you’ve procrastinated you’ll have to spend more money and buy all your plants from a nursery, fear not… Read the rest of this entry »