CityDiggity

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Archive for sweet potato vine

Garden payoff: On an evening like this, it all makes sense

A gentle breeze, temperate weather and thriving container plants — some in full flower, others on the cusp of revealing their beauty… Such was the scene¬† this evening on my downtown Chicago balcony.

And alas, dear gardeners, if you were steadfast in your watering through the oppressive heat of the past couple of weeks, you, too, are likely enjoying the fruits — and flowers — of your efforts. (And openly marveling at just how much your plants have grown.)

The 100-plus thermometer readings created an outdoor hothouse effect that had varieties like the yellow and orange lantana (in the second photo) reaching out with arm-like chutes — happy to receive the sunshine being offered.

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Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme – and sweet potatoes?

It’s 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say that I’ve just clipped fresh herbs from my balcony garden to use in preparing dinner — parsley, sage, rosemary and, yes, thyme.

And I’d say the holiday arrives just in the nick of time, since the forecast has temps dipping precipitously tonight and I’m not sure the garden will last past the next few days.

As I’ve got more preparation to do in the kitchen, I just wanted to briefly share with you some of the Read the rest of this entry »

Cool Chicago summer has garden about a month out of sync

DSC00699DSC00714I often delude myself into thinking that I’m in control of my garden, but in moments of crystalline clarity I realize that it is nature, not I, that bends the garden to its will.

Recently I had to right, and then anchor my heirloom tomato pots after strong winds caused them to topple over.

And, just last evening I was furiously trying to snap a few photos of first-bloomers and complete some garden maintenance before the dark clouds opened up to end the day as it had begun: with driving rain.

The upside: I was spared my nocturnal watering ritual for the day. Nature gives, but sometimes, Read the rest of this entry »

A tale of two sweet potato vines – healthy growth inside and out

DSC00619DSC00625DSC00328While my purchased sweet potato vine grows fast and furious outside, my home- grown vine, sprouting from an actual potato, is on quite a growth spurt inside, too.

As you can see, the longest stem has grown from mere sprouts (third photo) to about two-feet since I started the project a couple months back. Of course, my next challenge is to figure out how to get rid of the potato and create a traditional indoor plant from the vine.

The jar of water that I suspended the cut sweet potato into is now filled with fibrous roots and I have multiple leafy stems protruding from the potato. I’ve decided to take off some of those stems as cuttings and try to root them using one of the peat pellets left over Read the rest of this entry »

Kid stuff: Sweet potato vine project has come a long way

DSC00428DSC00328DSC00268In my previous post I had high hopes and good intentions, which now, sadly, litter the wayside of that fabled well-paved road.

It’s after midnight on Friday and unfortunately my plants are not outside as I thought they’d be. I was right in noting that the work above my balcony was finished, but the crew boss informed me that it would be ill-advised to move my plants back outside on Wednesday because he worried that migrating dust from work alongside my neighbor’s unit would damage my plants.

So, I wait. He’d estimated that by end-of-day Friday I could start to put things right in my balcony garden. Of course, best laid plans and all, we had a very stormy Friday and they weren’t able to do any work on the building at all. I’m keeping 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 »

A sweet, potato project: Lazy, drizzly day perfect for vine time

Sweet potato vine is a staple in my garden.

Sweet potato vine is a staple in my garden; I've already picked up two for my planter boxes.

‘One potato, two potato …’ I was thinking of the children’s rhyme today when I compared two sweet potatoes that had been languishing in my larder since Easter.

One looked much like it did when I bought it, while the other had several sprouts jutting from it — purple sprouts. And, what’s more, a closer examination revealed what looked to be tiny purple leaves extending, in turn, from them.

Dig the tiny purple leaves

Tiny purple leaves jut from the sprouts of my sweet potato.

The garden is great for awakening a sense of wonder. Even if it’s a long time coming. I’ve used sweet potato vine in my planters for several years now, but only recently started to ponder their relationship to, duh, sweet potatoes.

A little online research gave instructions on how Read the rest of this entry »