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Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:42 AM

chicago's hidden farms

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/01/08/168895084/finding-chicago-s-hidden-farms

i have already volunteered to take a survey that is being worked on that is mentioned at the end of this article.

22 replies, 3948 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply chicago's hidden farms (Original post)
mopinko Jan 2013 OP
jillan Jan 2013 #1
Michigan-Arizona Jan 2013 #2
mopinko Jan 2013 #4
kurtzapril4 Jan 2013 #20
mopinko Jan 2013 #21
JEB Jan 2013 #3
jerseyjack Jan 2013 #5
rosesaylavee Jan 2013 #14
GTurck Jan 2013 #6
gtar100 Jan 2013 #7
scubadude Jan 2013 #8
mopinko Jan 2013 #9
scubadude Jan 2013 #10
mopinko Jan 2013 #11
scubadude Jan 2013 #12
mopinko Jan 2013 #13
truedelphi Jan 2013 #15
mopinko Jan 2013 #16
truedelphi Jan 2013 #17
mopinko Jan 2013 #18
truedelphi Jan 2013 #19
mopinko Jan 2013 #22

Response to mopinko (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 01:23 PM

1. One thing I really miss about living in Chicago is the rich, black soil.

I have family there who garden that do not have to use anything to make the soil richer.


I live, and garden, in Az. Haha. You should see my muscles from carrying bags of soil and nutrients!

Everyone should have a garden. They are the best.

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Response to jillan (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:58 PM

2. Same as in Michigan

We don't find the taste of veggies here nearly as good as what we grew or bought in Michigan. I've found some of the sizes to be much smaller as well. Rutabagas back home are quite big, here I may have to buy 3 or 4 to get equal of one there.

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Response to jillan (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 06:20 PM

4. my soil actually kinda sucks.

funny that my yard has shitty soil, but my little farm- 35' away, has pretty good soil. but i am very close to the lake, and mostly here it just dirty sand. i was raised out in the burbs, tho, and everything grew like mad.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:26 PM

20. I've got what the soil people call

silty clay loam. It's not great, but it's okay. I live near Crystal Lake. I do have to amend the hell out of it to get it to perform like the soil where I grew up....Lombard. That stuff was black prairie gold!

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Response to kurtzapril4 (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:18 PM

21. yeah, like aurora.

prairie. i used to joke that i could stick a popsicle stick in that dirt and it would grow a popsicle bush.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:53 PM

3. Grow your own!

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:41 PM

5. The black soil was what helped settle the area.

 

Many of the soldiers during the Black Hawk war were impressed by the black soil and migrated to the area.

Chicago. Named after Miami Indian name for the wild garlic found in the area.

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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:25 PM

14. The Potawatomi called the Nodding Onion - Che-ca-gou

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:05 AM

6. Moved from Will County...

to edge of Texas Hill Country. Very shallow soil with limestone everywhere and caliche underbase. The area is quite beautiful but hard to grow crops on. Keep trying to make planting beds but that is expensive to do. Really miss midwest soils which were so easy to plant in and get a decent return.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:15 PM

7. My utopian dream is seeing a garden on every rooftop.

We could make this world a beautiful place by turning as much of it as possible into gardens and parks.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:23 PM

8. Just make sure to test your soil for lead. You don't want to poison yourself inadvertantly...

Remember leaded paint and gasoline? Check this out and you might think twice about gardening in existing back yard soil in the city. Or at the very least you may consider having the soil you are using tested for lead.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/garden/14lead.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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Response to scubadude (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:35 PM

9. first, i am building a lot of new soil with composting

on a pretty huge scale. lots of tree parts, mostly, and some grass clippings.
but second, you know, we live on a poison planet. there is no clean soil to truck in. i'm just gonna do my best to keep going till this planet becomes uninhabitable. fuck it.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:04 PM

10. If you are using urban soil, have it tested. Simple enough.

Of course gardening and small scale farming are of huge importance. I applaud your efforts. Yet I hope that you personally, and others who would consider attempting it, be careful. It can be dangerous.

Great post, just be careful, there are people here who care for you!

Scuba

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Response to scubadude (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:20 PM

11. arsenic and mercury fall from the sky here.

but then again i have chickens that lay great eggs, and a pet parrot that is 15 years old. birds are very good indicators of environmental quality, and i am taking it at that.

i think perfection is the most dubious of goals. so much is wasted in it's pursuit.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:57 PM

12. I urge potential uban gardeners to have their soils tested.

Just because you think YOU are safe doesn't mean everyone is safe. Families with small children are especially at risk from the dangers of lead contaminated soils. I suggest you reexamine your position.

I quote the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service:

Lead is the most common contaminant in urban soils, and intake of contaminated soil—through direct ingestion, dust inhalation, or exposure to soil clinging to produce—may pose a serious health risk. Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risk from lead contamination, as high lead exposure may result in behavioral and learning disabilities. Lead may be derived from a number of pervasive sources, including gasoline emissions, paint chips from older buildings, plumbing pipes, and industrial processes. Lead accumulates where it is deposited and is not easily removed from soil. Soil testing for lead is essential prior
to gardening in an urban setting, and if high levels are found, steps must be taken to minimize lead exposure and prevent health risks.

The bulk of this excellent pdf can be found here: http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/Soilfacts/AG-439-78_Urban_Soil_Contaminants.pdf

Scuba

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Response to scubadude (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:35 PM

13. i don't think i am safe. i think i am doomed.

i already know that lead is everywhere in my environment, and likely irremediable. that is why my first year was spent accumulating compostable materials which now cover the original soil to a depth of several feet.

the land has never been anything but a residential, tho, and likely not as bad as most.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:54 PM

15. One question - how is it that all the roofs are sturdy enough to handle

The weight of the gardens?

And thanks for posting this - it really is a great story.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:33 AM

16. that is a big barrier to there being even more than there are.

many of them have large structural enhancements before they are planted. we looked into it and it would have been about $10k to make our 2000 sq ft roof usable.
but many of the old, old buildings- big stone behemoths here in the land of no wooden buildings after that fire thing- are strong enough for at least some containers, and many of the early "chicago skyscrapers" were also pretty over built.
city is full of very good architects and builders.

i was really surprised myself, i tell ya.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:56 PM

17. The Chicago Fire of 1873

A gift that keeps on giving. A tragedy at the time, it enabled the City of Big Shoulders to modernize - and now these roof gardens are among the beneficiaries.

(I might be off by a year or two.)

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:35 PM

18. 1871

there is a very interesting theory that it was caused by a comet. my computer is being balky, but if you google great chicago fire comet, you will get a lot of links, some kooky, some good. personally i do believe this theory.
and if you ever go to peshtigo wisconsin, don't mention the chicago fire. they nearly ran us out of town when we visited their museum.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:41 PM

19. I had never heard that "comet-fire" theory.

Of course, my education on most things Chicago is traced to my Chi Town school days of the sixties. But will definitely check it out.

And yes, Peshtigo WI got hammered by a much bigger and more devastating fire the same weekend that Chicago had its fire. But the media outlet city will always receive the lion's share of attention.

Forty years later, I was greatly surprised to see the same history book that us school kids had in fourth grade, only much bigger, on the shelf of a California friend. I borrowed said book. When I got to the chapter on the 1870's - I found out that Chicago at that time was a city of bordellos, brothels and had an extensive red light district. far from being the "City of churches and gardens" my grammar school had told us it was, it was rather a mini-Amsterdam.

Apparently the newspapers had the citizenry get worked up enough to descend on that neighborhood, on the near North side, and pull down the buildings that housed so much "sin and pleasure."

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:21 PM

22. things haven't changed tthhhaaaaatt much.

we still have a little bit of everything here.

are real page turner based about the worlds fair here 'devil in the white city' is one of the best books i have read, i think. it is some pretty amazing history.

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