Mr Brown Thumb

About me

Mr Brown Thumb is the pen name of an urban gardener in Chicago, IL. His writings cover many aspects of gardening with a DIY, frugal and humorous slant to gardening. From gardening indoors with houseplants to urban farming and promoting seed saving. There isn't a gardening topic that Mr Brown Thumb won't brake down and make easy to understand.

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Posted 02/21/2012

Growing Italian Seeds to Cook Italian Food

One day while watching Gabriele and Debi on ExtraVirgin I got inspired to grow some of the herbs and vegetables featured in their Italian recipes. So, I headed down to the garden center in search of seeds so I could grow my own ingredients in the garden this summer.  I was presented with the usual array of seeds from some of my favorite seed companies. A couple of which even had a selection highlighting their use in Italian cuisine.   Continue Reading…

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Posted 09/07/2011

America’s Oldest Seed Company Needs Your Help

The D. Landreth Seed Company has been around since 1784 and is billed as America’s oldest seed company. Last week the company announced that their loan has been called in and their accounts had been frozen. So they launched a campaign to raise one million dollars by selling copies of their 2012 heirloom seed catalog to raise the necessary funds in 30 days or they’d have to close forever.  What this means for gardeners is a loss of another independent seed seller, one who carries heirloom seed varieties the big seed companies don’t, and the further shrinking of our seed supply.
But what does this mean for people like readers of Under The Tuscan Gun and viewers of the cooking show, Extra Virgin, with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos? Continue Reading…

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Posted 06/11/2011

Grow Great Grub! Treat you garden to a new book

I’m more of an internet-using kind of gardener, but I will occasionally turn to garden books when I’m looking for ideas or information. I find I’m more discerning in the kinds of garden books I’ll buy or recommend than any other choices I make in my life. Garden books should be beautiful and inspire you to try to grow-not just a garden-but grow as a gardener. One of my favorite gardening books is Grow Great Grub which is now entering its 5th printing. If you haven’t come across this book yet I highly recommend it, especially for beginner gardeners who are just getting into growing some of their own food. Continue Reading…

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Posted 03/22/2011

Free Garden Plants From Your Food

A few weeks ago on Twitter Debi mentioned that Gabriele once brought passion fruit seeds from Miami to L.A. that they had eaten and grew them into vines, but that the fruit didn’t taste good. I think we’ve all have this instinct to save the seeds of a particularly good fruit and plant it in the hopes that we’d grow something as delicious as what we ate. With a few exceptions, saving seeds from fruits we eat in restaurants and grocery stores will not produce fruits or vegetables that are the same as the ones we ate. What’s available commercially is usually a hybrid and the seeds will not result in a plant or fruit that is identical to the one we experienced. The same goes for fruiting trees like apples, peaches and oranges. Sure, you can usually nurture these seeds into plants that may flower and fruit, but the resulting fruit will not taste very good. Continue Reading…

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Posted 02/17/2011

Boost Your Gardening Confidence with Easy Flowers and Vegetables

Growing your own food and flowers in your own yard, patio or deck is easy, fun and rewarding. Forget about any failures you’ve had in the past, those were just learning experiences you had to go through. I’m here to tell you that you can garden and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. Try some simple vegetables and plants from seed to boost your gardening confidence. Here are some veggies and flowers you can grow easily from seed, the best part is that they’re easy to find and don’t cost a lot of money per-pack to buy. Continue Reading…

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