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Molly Kay Stoltz, urban garden theatre diva extroardinaire, is joining the Sprout Chicago family! We are excited to have Molly coming on board to contribute her knowledge of green city living.

Molly runs her own sustainable clothing business, works at one of Chicago’s leading garden emporiums and also blogs about natural health remedies on Urban Herbal Girl.

If you have a moment take a peek at her freshly posted bio under the Contributors page. And if you’re itching to do some earth-friendly shopping take a peek at her adorable handmade line of clothing and accessories Rags by Sock Monkey here.

Welcome Molly!

Talk about carbon omission offsets – O’Hare International Airport recently unveiled it’s newest piece of interior decor – an edible vertical garden. While I’m not completely convinced that the airport has all of its intentions aligned with the traditional urban farmer – this effort to showcase alternative green space deserves mention. To learn more about the garden and who was behind it, check out the whole story here.

Tis the season to start planning your 2011 edible gardens. City dwellers must overcome the myth and fear that growing veggies is only for those with a stiff mortgage and plenty of land mass. Those of us who live in apartments and high rises can overcome this obstacle by employing some creative solutions:

Urbio Vertical Garden: This up-and-coming design team is currently collecting funds via Kickstarter to turn their urban jungle ideas into reality. Their concept of magnetic and adjustable plastic planters is brilliant, modern, and functional.  Let Urbio be your inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

It’s August and all of the seeding, germination, and planting efforts are paying off! We’ve had our fair share of tasty harvests, bitter greens, and downright mysteries – so I thought it was high time to share an update on my great urban container veggie garden experiment.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Lydia Krupinski

The sun is shining, the air is warm, and I could think of no better day to bring the entire garden out for its debut! I’ve been itching to move all of my sprouts out from the germination stations – but figured that as long as I’m wearing a coat – the delicate veggies are staying indoors. But today was the day!

Here’s a general update on my Seed Saver plants: The swiss chard, broccoli, lavender, green onions and lettuce are growing but vveeerrryyyy sssslllooowwwlllyyy. The sage and stevia never surfaced, but the tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and peas have flourished! These four plants were all over 6 inches tall a month ago and I was aching to put them out to feel the fresh lake breeze. The peas and beans, being more resilient to the cold, went out three weeks ago.

The sad news is that amidst some unannounced construction on the patio above me, the bean plant was pulled from the soil, snapped, and is barely hanging on. I was very upset if you can imagine. Here was my prized plant sulking under its own weight after being mauled by some handymen. But the peas are climbing up their hemp very well – and we’re hoping that a new bean seed can catch up. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

I feel somewhat ashamed for having kept this new innovation to ourselves: Over a month ago David and I concocted our very own germination stations to jump start our edible garden. I admit that I shared some of these photos on my Facebook – but never got around to posting them here. Please forgive me.

The two of us wanted to build something that would not deface our vintage rental, while remaining as effective as any fancy greenhouse. We also wanted to incorporate as many upcycled materials as possible. We set up shop in the two rooms that contained the most light for the longest period of time: the bathroom and the bedroom. I focused on the first, David on the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Lydia Krupinski

If you’re anything like me you’re itching for rays of sun, sprouting plants, and the premise of warmer weather. As I sit in my cozy Northside apartment I can’t help but forage through websites and magazines that celebrate the just-around-the-bend glow of the vernal equinox. As can be told by my latest posts, I am developing quite a fondness for all things spring, urban and food-related. So when Jessa Brinkmeyer of Pivot sent me a link to the upcoming Family Farmed Food Expo I gasped with delight.

Filled with celebrity chefs, locavores, authors, activists, farmers, and other conscious consumers, the Expo will be showcasing the very best of our areas agriculture. Attend workshops discussing everything from growing container gardens to raising chickens while visiting with other Chicagoland foodies and businesses.

What: Family Farmed Food Expo Local Food Festival

When: Saturday, March 13th, 2010 10am-6pm

Where: UIC Forum University of Chicago

Cost: $15 Prepaid $20 At Door

To learn more about the Expo and see a list of speakers visit their website here.

by Lydia Krupinski

I have finally gotten around to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I’m just about half-way through and already have been deeply moved by this piece. I’ve been through all of Michael Pollan’s books and read “Fast Food Nation” when it first hit the shelves, but there’s something unique about “Animal…,” something beyond description. As I pour through the pages I am left feeling inspired and empowered…knowing that I too can support local agriculture and grow my own food.

On this note I can’t tell you how eager I am to finish the book and even more eager to start my 2010 urban garden.  In anticipation of the coming Spring I have started a list of last year’s successful crops, new planting endeavors, and a wishlist for our urban farming future. In 2009 David and I successfully grew basil, green onions, chives, mint, chamomile, lettuce, and parsley. This year we’re setting our sights on spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes, beans, and broccoli. A mighty list indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

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