CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Winding down

For urban balcony gardener, there’s no denying the coming of winter (or the promise of spring)

There’s still a week to go before autumn’s end, yet Chicago finds itself already wrapped in the cloak of winter.

After a bout of snow and bitter chill — with more in this week’s forecast — my cold-tolerant plants can no longer tolerate the harsh reality of our plummeting temperatures (smile).

I had wished for my balcony garden to last through Thanksgiving. Thankfully, it did. The first Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Holiday countdown: will cold- tolerant plants go the distance?

DSC01106DSC01102After I discovered that not all of my balcony garden plants had given in to the frigid Chicago autumn, I got a second wind of sorts. (No pun intended.)

I began to think maybe, just maybe, I could cobble together enough of a display to keep a pleasing view to the outside through the fall holiday season.

As you’ll recall, I already have clear net lights attached to the balcony’s perimeter — a perfect Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

Despite cold and neglect, some balcony plants still blooming

DSC01059DSC01037Monday was a delight. It was bright and sunny and felt more like the beginning of spring than the middle of fall. I was drawn outside onto the balcony. Drawn to the garden I’d given over to hibernation.

While brown had replaced the once-green foliage in most of my planters, and naked dry stems stood where there previously was a profusion of blossoms, I was pleased to discover that there were a few flowers mixed among the ruins.

The petunia baby duck was still covered with its small, pale yellow blossoms; the lobelia is flourishing prolifically; and, the Nigella — which 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 »