Green Box: Container Garden Idea 2

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While visiting the Farmers Market at Uncommon Ground on Devon I came across the Green Box by City Farm. City Farm’s Green Box is a portable garden that allows you to grow some of your own produce in small spaces. It is a perfect container garden for apartment dwellers who may only have a porch, balcony or other limited spaces, you can even keep it on a roof. This portable container garden is made from recycled and repurposed materials from the Chicago area.

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The Green Box costs $75.00 but $50.00 of that is tax deductible and all proceeds go directly to The Resource Center, a 40-year-old organization committed to constructive use of urban space and resources. Here is what you get included in your Green Box kit:

  • Green Box made from recycled and repurposed materials from the Chicago area.
  • City Farm compost
  • Fertilizer
  • City Farm mixed salad greens seeds.

The salad greens seeds are just to get you started with the Green Box you can grow a variety of vegetables and herbs including: lettuces, spinach, chard, kale, mustard greeens, cress, arugula, parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, sorrel, mache, bok choy. If growing some of your own food doesn’t appeal to you you could use to grow different kinds of annuals that are purely decorative, or maybe even a collection of succulents that are so popular in planted roofs around here.

City Farm, a division of The Resource Center, helps educate Chicagoans on how to go from garden to table. They opperate a sustainable farm on once vacant land that borders the Cabrini-Green and the Gold Coast neighborhoods.  


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  • It's pretty amazing how much produce you can grow in a small space. That box is probably big enough to grow enough salad greens for one person for several weeks, especially if you keep cutting the outside leaves and let the plants keep going until they bolt. I've been eating big salads for a few weeks now, once or twice a day from a bed of mixed lettuce and greens about the size of that box. By the time I run out of lettuce in the fridge, the lettuce in the bed has grown big enough to cut some more. Yum. The stuff they sell in the grocery store for $5-8/lb. can't compare to baby greens fresh from the garden (or the Green Box!) And it's pretty too (the lettuce, that is, although the box is pretty nice too.)

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Hi SSGardenGirl,

    I was just trying to convince my friend to buy one or a couple of these so he can grow some of his own food or herbs that he's always buying. He'd like to do it but he lives close to a highway and think he'll just end up eating the pollutants from cars.

    Good tip about the salad greens.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Ha - just noticed this while browsing your archive. Cool idea, but I notice the bottom of the green box is made out of some sort of netting? That would make them hard to move when filled with soil, no? And wouldn't the soil run through eventually?

  • In reply to jvinch:

    Hi John, Yes and no. The bottoms of the ones I saw were made out of a metal screen. When it is laying on a flat surface you won't loose much soil. When planted the roots of the plants will eventually spread to the point that they hold all the soil in place. I guess if you were worried about losing soil from the bottom you could cover it with a sheet of newsprint or coffee filters or something similar.

  • In reply to jvinch:

    Thanks for your comment - I think it's a great idea. I'll check them out when I'm in that area next spring. One question for you, though. Would the box be deep enough? I'd suspect we're at about 3.5" or so when fully filled with soil, is that enough for annuals etc?

  • In reply to jvinch:

    It is deep enough for shallow rooted herbs, veggies and annuals. You can't grow things like carrots but most others will be fine in a shallow container like this.

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