CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for dill

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

dillwild

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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Easy green tips that small-space urban gardeners can embrace

Talk about tough love: This past weekend I came across a cautionary essay on purchasing Valentine’s Day flowers.

The writer, bless his green heart, viewed the arguably commercial holiday through the prism of factory farms. It wasn’t a pretty picture.

But even those of us trying to be increasingly environmentally conscious might have found it difficult to go cold turkey and give up that sentimental bouquet.

If you weren’t quite able to wrap your head (or your arms) around the idea this year, take heart, there are other ways to up your green quotient 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 »

No small potatoes: garden herbs boost flavor of picnic side dish

Potato salad with basil pesto and dill is a tasty cookout side dish (see recipe below in post).

Potato salad with basil pesto and dill is a tasty cookout side dish (see recipe below in post).

Memorial Day weekend marks the official opening of Chicago beaches and the unofficial start of picnic season. Besides hitting the shores, we also hit the parks — armed with grills and coolers — for our first taste of summer in the city.

It’s not as warm as it could be this year (low 60s to 70 degrees), but the heat generated by all that outdoor cooking should raise the temperature. And then, the fireworks.

Along with the meats thrown on the barbie, no picnic is complete without the full complement of yummy side dishes, and potato salad is one of my Read the rest of this entry »

My friend was in the South of France, and all I got was this bloomin’ photograph

Well, actually, I got several photos of happy herbs with a view of the Mediterranean.

Well, actually, I got several photos of happy herbs with a view of the Mediterranean.

My friend Maureen called me last week from an aerie in the South of France, describing how much I’d appreciate the fact that a balcony, adorned with herbs, wrapped around the length of the place — which, by-the-way, looked out on the Mediterranean. And, of course, the weather was lovely. The photos she took bear witness to these facts.

So here I sit, staring out on a Chicago morning and longing for the Cote D’Azur… And the day when the herbs on my balcony will rival the ones sunning themselves within the friendly confines of this post. Usually, I wait and sow my herb seeds directly into their pots outside when the weather is right. But, a week or so ago I planted a few of them inside using peat pellets and the mini-greenhouse system — just to get a jump on things.

A picture-perfect stuccoed wall at the flat in Villefranche sur Mer.

A picturesque stucco wall flanks the wrap- around balcony at the Villefranche sur Mer flat.

Marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage and spearmint got the advance treatment, while I’ll probably toss my basil seeds directly into their clay pots this week and perch them on a windowsill to sprout. I Read the rest of this entry »

Herbs bring on the freshness – and everyone has a favorite

I get a little crazy when it comes to basil, note the pot of the purple variety (top).

I get a little crazy when it comes to my basil (note the pot of the purple variety, top).

I once extended a hand in greeting when making an acquaintance, only to be rebuked by the suspect non sequitur, “Sorry, I have pickle juice on my hand.” Well, it turns out it wasn’t a case of closeted O.C.D., it was just that the gent in question was serious about his dill. He actually made his own pickles, and, indeed, had pickle juice on his hands!

And while I plant dill for use in salads, dips and, of course, to season salmon, I don’t quite share his level of affection for the herb. Basil, however, is Read the rest of this entry »