Inspiration: Midwest Urban Gardens

Chicago Magazine

We're big proponents of growing your own food, even in small spaces, so we were excited to read about three thriving urban gardens in this month's issue of Chicago Magazine.

An EarthBox-filled rooftop, a front-yard stunner and a backyard powerhouse – they're all labors of love that yield beautiful, and tasty, results.

As apartment dwellers, we don't have the space (or resources) to create gardens quite as extensive, but we find them inspirational nonetheless.

Read on for more about these gardens.

Chef Rick Bayless – known for his Frontera Grill and Topolobampo restaurants and PBS cooking show, among other ventures – has a 1,000-square-foot garden behind his home that produces $25,000 food a year and supplies his restaurants. Despite its success, the garden has been humbling: "Most people don’t realize how hard it is to do anything agricultural,” Bayless said. “You are pretty much prey to anything that comes by—pests, too much rain, too little rain, too much heat, not enough. It makes you realize that you’re not the director. You’re just a player, and your goal for success is to be a good player.”

On the other hand, a relatively newbie gardener, Russ Cheatham, says he's been struck by the ease of gardening on his rooftop in the Ukranian Village neighborhood. Thanks to "idiot-proof" EarthBoxes, he spends about 10 minutes a day watering, which fits easily into a busy schedule.

Melina Kelson-Podolsky teaches in the culinary arts program at Chicago's Kendall College and has created a garden space that is bountiful, as well as beautiful. She grows heirloom produce such as purple tomatillos, which she describes as “downright dessert-like-fruity with this sort of light, tomato-y essence on the finish.” Sounds delightful.

Read the full profiles here: Chicago Magazine - Salad Days

Related: 10 Inspiring Gardens for Growing Food in Small Spaces

(Image: Andreas Larsson/Chicago Magazine)

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