Rooftop & Apartment Gardens By Verdura

How to grow your own produce regardless of space

Sara Gasbarra is the woman Chicago chefs call when they want to grow their own produce.

With her new company, Verdura, the edible-garden expert develops rooftop gardens, window boxes and lush, harvestable patios for restaurants across the city.

We tapped her for advice on creating an edible garden anywhere, no matter the space–or lack thereof (click here to see the slide show).

For the apartment dweller, she designed a window box packed with a variety of sturdy herbs and plants such as rosemary, anise hyssop and nasturtiums.

Three square feet of space is enough for an Earth Box, which can hold a sauce-friendly duo of tomatoes and basil. The combination is more than mere culinary strategy: The herb's scent is a natural insect deterrent.

Have access to at least a four-by-eight-foot patch of green? Follow Gasbarra's layout for a raised-bed garden and you'll be able to grow more than 20 vegetables and herbs in the space.

Her two final tips: Water in the morning or early evening (rather than midday) and, whenever possible, buy plants from farmers' markets–so if something goes awry, you can talk to the farmer about what you're doing wrong.