“Chique” Urban Garden
I love that the during this time of year, it is not just about Spring cleaning, although most of you know how much I adore that too! But, as the days get longer and the trees begin to bud and the daffodils are sprouting out of the earth; I feel inspired. So, what better time to start planning our garden. I have never had the courage to grow more than the basics, as green thumb is non-existent. Ironically, I must have missed that gene, because my mom is an avid gardener. Luckily, this weekend my mother-in-law was in town and she loves to get her hands dirty too!
With the recent rain in Chicago it was a perfect weekend to spend some time in the garden, weeding, planting and prepping for new beginnings. I have been recently been encouraged by my good friend Margqaux of Heaven On Earth-Home, who is a Certified Raw Food Chef & Master Gardener. It is hard to compare our urban space to hers, because they have a sprawling yard and a gorgeous green house in Michigan. We live in the center of the city with a small patch of grass and a spectacular view of the city, but not exactly the ideal spot for a vegetable garden. Regardless, I am determined to grow a few special herbs and veggies, so my city kids can be in touch with the miracle of nature. They enjoy exploring the seasonal farmers markets with me downtown, but I would love for them to be able to pick a homegrown tomato from our garden.
Is this an impossible feat in the city? Then I found Annie Novak of Roof Top Farms, who founded Eagle Street, an organic vegetable farm located atop a warehouse rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If she can farm in the city so can we! Now, if only we had a 6,000 square foot rooftop deck, wouldn’t that be divine? Not just for the gardening opportunities, but I can just imagine those dinner parties under the stars with our glorious view of Chicago. Well, I need to stop dreaming and start digging.
So, that is exactly what we did; it was a family affair. First, we visited the local garden center and bought a variety of herbs, tomato plants and plenty of seeds. Then, we dug up the wildflowers and transplanted them in the side yard. Matt voraciously weeded out the sea of lilies, there is something so satisfying about digging up some of the deepest roots! I originally wanted to dig up the lilies and trade them for some other plants at the G.E.E.E, but they have grown so fast with this early Spring, I am not sure if it is too late. Anyway, we all had a great time digging and planting the herbs, tomato plants and strawberries. Parker even labeled each plant respectively with recycled wooden sticks! Lastly, we started the corn, pea pods and green beans in an old egg carton. Hopefully, by the time we return to Chicago, after our Spring Break excursion to Michigan, we will have some seedlings to transplant to a bigger pot.
As some of you remember, Parker did grow corn last year as part of his final project in pottery class and it was quite a success. Except, we should have harvested it before we went to Florida, so now this year we know better. We will be sure to keep you posted on our successes and of course any advice is welcome! So excited to watch our little “Chique” Urban Garden grow.
Great post Erika! Thanks for the shout out. It really is a miracle to coax a tiny seed to turn into a huge plant then to harvest some part of it and share it with each other at the dinner table. There are so many good lessons in that process for kids, and for us adults too. You are welcome to bring your kids to our garden anytime. And, hopefully I get a chance to see yours, in person, someday soon. 🙂
You are so sweet and a huge inspiration to all! Someday, we will plan a trip to see you on a detour to or from my parents house. When you are ready for another Chicago shopping trip, come visit! Miss you xo E