Saturday, July 11, 2009


When he's not teaching Europe from 400 to 1400, writing an article about "Clerical Masculinity in the Middle Ages" for a book or discussing other aspects of the period with his scholarly wife Tanya (who is also writing an article for the same book - on Beguines and Parisians scholars) Dr. Andrew Miller has been working on his rooftop garden in Chicago. And not just any rooftop garden as Miller, a cousin of your editor's wife, explains:

|||| I made my own 'earth boxes' at a fraction of the cost that they rip you off in the gardening stores. All you need are two plastic storage bins, some bricks or PVC pipe, and some strips of towel or other absorbent material. Oh, yeah, and some dirt and water. The whole things works like a candle wick. When you put the soil in the top container you simply weave the 'wicks' through the soil, which then go through holes in the bottom of the top container down into the water reservoir below (each holds about 3 gallons of water so I only need to water once a week.). . . . I began them around Memorial Day and we've been eating fresh salads etc every night. Usually you can't grow tomatoes this close together (at least that's what most gardeners say) but with constant water and sunlight (and pruning) it can be done. . . Next summer I'm going to grow beans, carrots, spinach, etc. . .

I haven't computed the savings but the self-sufficiency factor appeals to me. When the Swine Flu Zombies come we can eat tomato-basil sandwiches and watch the chaos from the roof.||||