CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for basil

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 »

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Unearthing old seeds for a brand new garden

When I pull out my bag of stockpiled seeds it’s like hitting the reset button on the thrill of a new garden.

I get to pick through the wacky assorted packets I just couldn’t pass up when the grocery store decided to clear its shelves, the splurge purchases from the garden center that were never opened, previously opened envelopes that still have seeds left over, and, not least, the seeds I harvested from gardens past.

The first order of business is creating two stacks — one consisting of seeds for edibles, the other of seeds for flowers.

The edibles cache turned out wonderfully; I found seeds for herbs, lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. In fact, I had an embarrassment of riches and was able to choose from multiple tomatoes for the two pots I’ll eventually set out on the balcony for my container garden. Black plum and Ildi were the heirlooms I decided to plant this year — both small fruit varieties sized right for a small urban space.

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 »

Out of sight color: blooms of vibrant orange and truest blue

DSC00792DSC00753Looking out onto the deck I have a pretty nice view: I can see the morning glory climbing up my balcony and attaching itself to the net lights, four varieties of basil, a fancy-leaf geranium and healthy pots of heirloom tomato (bar one).

And when I look up at what’s attached to the railing I see lots of gorgeous flowers: petunia, Texas bluebonnet, lisianthus, lobelia, salvia, zinnia, lantana and several others.

Therefore, as you’d suspect I’m pretty pleased right now. But being so taken by all there was to appreciate in my immediate sight line, I neglected Read the rest of this entry »

So many different types of basil, so little time – and space

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The basil seeds sown directly into the large terra cotta pots that will be their summer home have sprouted, despite the cold air that spring hasn’t yet managed to chase away.

So, I’m confident that I’ll have a robust crop for pesto, and all the other fresh dishes the herb enhances, in just a few weeks.

I planted Genovese basil and one that I haven’t tried before — lime basil. In the past, I also added a colorful purple basil plant to my container garden, which at the time seemed quite exotic to me.

However, as the Bard might have said (if he had a taste for the herb): there’s a lot more to basil than Read the rest of this entry »