CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Heirloom tomatoes

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.

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Spreading the word about urban agriculture, sustainability

I’ve been bad. Slow to blog and busy… So busy, in fact, that I’ve just barely been able to keep up with all the watering.

(You know you’ve been swamped when the postman has to call you to come down to clean out your mailbox! Such was the case with me a week or so back.)

But, I plan on using what remains of the Chicago garden season to make up for lost time.

Deliciously, my days of harvesting have arrived and as you can see here I’ve got lemon cucumber Read the rest of this entry »

Nature cuts garden down to size

The weather. It can definitely do damage to a fledgling garden.

But, before we talk about that, let me take you back a couple weeks… When I looked out at the overabundance of seedlings (in my zeal I used about 150 peat pellets) I’d planted for this season’s garden I thought I may have gone a little overboard.

Nature, however, has a way of leveling things out. Torrential rains hit Chicago a few days later, which had me flashing on a scene from the old movie, “Tammy and the Bachelor,” in which the Debbie Reynolds character scurries about in a downpour, Read the rest of this entry »

An Earth Day challenge: grow one item of produce this season

I read an article earlier this week that questioned whether it was cost effective to grow your own food. It listed a ton of supplies needed to begin and suggested balancing the price of those supplies against the price of just purchasing the food outright…

It’s the kind of thing that can discourage a person from getting started, and let me say — as someone who does grow tomatoes and a veggie or two — that you don’t need to tick off a 25-item check list before going gardener. And, you can 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 »

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 »

The survivors: three heirloom tomato plants still standing

DSC00838DSC00828DSC00840While reading accounts of bountiful harvests by garden bloggers around the world, I’ve waited patiently, hoping my day would come.

Well, despite the setbacks I’ve faced this year in the cultivation of my small-space balcony garden, I can at last proclaim: I have tomatoes!

Not as many as I anticipated when I began this year’s gardening adventure, but the fact that I was overambitious has perhaps paid off, since half of too much turns out to be quite enough. Wild cherry, rosalita and isis candy heirlooms endured Read the rest of this entry »