Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Extending the Chicago growing season

Lots of good news from the roof on this grey Chicago day. First, our relationship survived assembling the birthday gift greenhouse. Even better, it's been an extraordinary tool for planting our bucket SIPs early in the growing season. These pictures are from the first ten days in April.

(Pause to thank Bruce for nurturing the cool-weather plant starts to robust health in time to get them in early.)

This view is from inside the rooftop greenhouse, where I planted our SIPs. Getting the organic fertilizer in a ring around the top of the soil and then the plastic over the top is challenging in any kind of wind. The greenhouse (or any shelter) lets you to accomplish planting without fighting a breeze.

Here, Mr H2 is madly making deckways all over the roof so we don't wear it out. I can't get him to come downstairs.

This is the new run of SIPs, already set up and planted (in the greenhouse) with cool-weather greens like collards, kale, broccoli, and spinach and then hardened off before moving outside. The plants look a little beat-up because they're just settling in.

'Champion' Collards in situ...

The big view--we've expanded a little each year.

But remember: growing organic food on your balcony or roof, in your yard or the vacant lot next door requires just a little initiative and a couple of buckets, totes, or an Earthbox. A sunny location is essential. Then just keep the water reservoir full. You won't believe how much high-quality food you can grow.

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