Alternative Dining in CHicago
    
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#1
Posted April 3rd 2008, 1:37pm
I'm not sure if this is appropriate for this forum but I thought I would tap into the braintrust.

I live in Chicago (city dweller) and have some room on my roof deck for a vegetable garden. In an effort to grow some of my own produce, I've purchased 12 Earthboxes (self watering container system). I'm planning on planting tomatoes, onions, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, green beans, green peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and broccoli.

Question:

-Does anyone know where I can buy starter plants for the above mentioned in the Chicago area (Farmer's Markets, Nurseries, Garden Centers, etc.)?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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#2
Posted April 3rd 2008, 1:55pm
If you're close to a Home Depot most of them carry Bonnie's plants starting in the spring.

http://www.bonnieplants.com/StoreLocato ... fault.aspx
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#3
Posted April 3rd 2008, 2:05pm
Very soon you will be able to find seedlings everywhere, even at your local Jewel & Dominicks.

If you are looking for unusual varities, try Pesche's in Des Plaines. They have quite a large variety of herbs & other plants.

www.pesches.com
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#4
Posted April 3rd 2008, 2:35pm
There are a number of threads on this subject, many of which have listings of where and when people buy plants. I recently discovered that Wal-Mart is an excellent place to buy seeds (lettuce, spinach, green beans and cucumbers are quite easy to grow from direct-sown seed)

At any rate, gardening threads:
My Garden
Chili Gardening
Hortus in Urbe: Fall Gardening
Tomato Novice Needs Advice
How does the Garden Grow
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#5
Posted April 3rd 2008, 3:26pm
Thanks much. Sorry if this had been visited in the past...

Hoping for a good crop...
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#6
Posted April 3rd 2008, 3:29pm
tyrus wrote:I'm not sure if this is appropriate for this forum


Yes, it is, absolutely. Good luck with your garden!
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#7
Posted April 3rd 2008, 3:31pm
tyrus wrote:Thanks much. Sorry if this had been visited in the past...

Hoping for a good crop...


We're always happy to hear progress reports and see photos of your garden! Personally, I'm happy to not immediately kill the basil plant I buy every year. I live vicariously through people with green thumbs.
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#8
Posted April 3rd 2008, 4:03pm
By all means! I just went out and bought cow manure today; it's always good to hunt up old threads and compare what happened last year to this year's plans...
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#9
Posted April 3rd 2008, 4:51pm
I just planted my spinach, arugula and peas out on my South Loop roofdeck today. I used a combination of self-watering containers and drip system last year with great success. I grew tomatoes (full size!), summer squash, strawberries, eggplant, herbs, broccoli rabe, bok choi and cucumber (that I can remember right now). Nothing like fresh arugula and broccoli rabe!! I grew everything from my own seed.

Looking forward to hearing how about your garden as the season progresses.
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#10
Posted April 3rd 2008, 5:59pm
tyrus wrote:I'm planning on planting tomatoes, onions, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, green beans, green peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and broccoli.

Question:

-Does anyone know where I can buy starter plants

You don't need plants for lettuce and spinach which can be direct-sown from seed, or onions, which are best from onion sets (little bulbs). You can plant now, but plan multiple plantings of the greens at intervals.

If you start now and put them under lights, you could grow the other things from seed as well. Otherwise, you'll be able to find plants in all sorts of places in May. I'd visit a garden center for the best variety, however.
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#11
Posted April 3rd 2008, 9:16pm
Every Spring Caputo's on Harlem in Elmwood Park devotes a good portion of its small parking to starter plants. They offer several varities of Tomatoes and pepper plants (including Melrose Peppers) as well as most everything else. I have found the plants to be beautiful like most all the produce at Caputo's and the best prices.
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#12
Posted April 4th 2008, 7:39am
We bought our tomato and green pepper plants at City Escape last year. Grown on a 26th floor balcony (East and South exposure) 1 block from the Clinton green line stop! Other than needing to rig some support to account for the non-stop breeze, the plants grew wonderfully. I used the Tomato Success Kits from Gardeners Supply (Item #35-777). We will be giving it another go this year. Can't wait!

http://www.cityescape.net/CityEscp_GCENTER.html
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If I can't have everything, well then, just give me a taste.
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#13
Posted April 4th 2008, 4:41pm
Has anyone seen Padron Pepper (pimientos de Padrone) seedlings available locally? I've seen some mail order sources for seeds, but would rather start with seedlings if possible.
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#14
Posted April 4th 2008, 7:13pm
If you're looking for freebies: City of Chicago's Plant Distribution Days

More than 300 community groups across the City of Chicago take advantage of the FREE materials offered by Greencorps Chicago: seeds, annuals and vegetables, perennials and bulbs. The distribution of perennials, the "Great Perennial Divide," is conducted in partnership with GreenNet.


Distribution dates on the linked site are for 2007.

I think you can also get free mulch through another program.
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#15
Posted April 5th 2008, 8:50am
Thanks for that link, ccrush - I work with several community groups (albeit, out of Chicago, so it may be moot) that could benefit.

At any rate, I began prepping my garden plot today...after a lot of research on the 'net and having established through practice that marigolds, blood meal and the like may work for a short time but are not enough to deter the voracious superbunnies that inhabit our community gardens, I've decided to fence in my plot with chicken wire. I am doing it a bit halfway, hoping that the presence of everybody else's luscious vegetables will be enough to prevent them from expending too much bunny neural activity on outwitting it: I bought the 3' chicken wire and am burying it about 1'deep. I'll let you all know if it works. Last year, they got my entire crop except for tomatoes, peppers and carrots (well, I managed to harvest some beans before they started on the bean plants) It was particularly disconcerting to see the beets go - right after the two pretty red leaves came up. :evil:

For those of you who are not working with a civil servant's budget, I found this online: EZ Rabbit Garden Fencing. When they get it back in stock, it's about $200 for 28 feet.
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#16
Posted April 5th 2008, 9:28am
Community garden-fattened rabbit?

One solution: civet de lapin
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#17
Posted April 5th 2008, 10:02am
One of the great ironies about the whole rabbit/wildlife problem: you can apparently cantrapthem and relocate them but it's up to you to get authorization to release them - and good luck finding a location wants them - but, basically, you can't kill them.

From the IDNR Digest of Hunting and Trapping regulations:
"Rabbits and Squirrel Cannot Be Trapped It is unlawful to trap any wildlife except furbearing mammals (see definition on page 6) and woodchucks. NOTE: It is unlawful to trap rabbits, squirrels, deer and protected birds (see page 6)."
From page 6 "PROTECTED SPECIES All wild birds (EXCEPT the house sparrow, European starling and domestic pigeon) and parts thereof (their nests and eggs) are protected. Wild mammals and parts thereof, which shall include their green hides, are protected EXCEPT as authorized by a hunting or trapping season, and include: woodchuck, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, eastern cottontail rabbit, swamp rabbit, white-tailed deer, muskrat, beaver, raccoon, opossum, least weasel, long-tailed weasel, mink, striped skunk, red fox, gray fox, badger and coyote. "


You can apparently shoot rabbits during wabbit season - but, fortunately only in designated hunting grounds (which, I assume, don't really need rabbit control as they are also inhabited by fox, coyote, mink, and weasel.) I will add your delicious-looking recipe to my stockpile of rabbit recipes in hopes that one day, the DNR will realize that reasonable controls of urban wildlife are a good idea...especially ones that have been eating nothing but the best heirloom beets, celery, peas, and brassicas.
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#18
Posted April 5th 2008, 5:11pm
Liz in Norwood Park wrote:
If you are looking for unusual varities, try Pesche's in Des Plaines. They have quite a large variety of herbs & other plants.

www.pesches.com


Just wanted to second the Pesche's recommendation. We've been going out there for the past few years for our "really small Chicago back porch garden."

Great tomato plant selection, along with a lot of herbs and of course flowers.
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#19
Posted April 5th 2008, 8:32pm
I was out this afternoon to buy a new rake and stopped into Home Depot. They have a few plants out. Mostly the heartier types collards, red cabbage, green cabbage, a couple herbs (rosemary and lavendar), and strawberries. They did have some pansies and I couldn't resist picking up a pack even though I'm hedging that it still might be a tad too early for them.
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#20
Posted April 27th 2008, 8:22pm
The GF and I went out to buy some herbs and seedlings today. We first went to City Escape on W Lake just west of Sacramento. Very nice garden center, but I would call it the "Fox & Obel of garden centers" since it's got great stuff in a new 16,000 sq ft lot, but not the cheapest by a long shot. They had a good assortment of trees, perennials, annuals, herbs and only 2-3 types of tomatoes so far (big boy and early girl I saw). Tons of pots, fountains, etc and all your good Felco, Dramm and Oxo accessories.

We then went to Adams & Sons on California, north of Augusta. WAY less expensive (CE had herbs and tomatoes for $5, and A&S was about 1/2 that), a great assortment of the above-mentioned plants in a much more modest corner lot. Very nice selection of tomatoes for this early, and the terra cotta pots were pretty dang cheap.

The staff at both places were very nice, so we have two spots in our neighborhood to go to depending on what we are looking for.

www.cityescape.net

Adams & Sons
1057 N California Ave
(773) 235-0991
Daily 9am to 6pm
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- Mark

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
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#21
Posted April 28th 2008, 9:51am
another neighborhood store with cool stuff to pick from, Sprout Home at Damen/Chicago has a good selection... it's overpriced though from what i could gather... but has some cool stuff
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#22
Posted May 7th 2008, 5:34am
There's a story about urban gardening in the May 7 NYTimes. This is urban gardening that not only feeds the gardeners, but also neighbors and others at local green markets. The greening of the food deserts!
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#23
Posted May 7th 2008, 6:49pm
stacy lunardini wrote:Has anyone seen Padron Pepper (pimientos de Padrone) seedlings available locally? I've seen some mail order sources for seeds, but would rather start with seedlings if possible.


I don't know about seedlings, but several growers at Green City Market will be selling the peppers (I know for sure Kinickinick will be). Maybe you can ask around if they will sell you a plant if you pay in advance and come back the next week?
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#24
Posted May 7th 2008, 6:51pm
Oh and hey - I am looking for an apricot tree (pref. semi-dwarf). If anyone sees any, can you post here? PM me, even!
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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