A few months ago, a gardener named David Amman told me, "If you're not growing anything, you're not assisting."
That made me rethink the long-dormant windowboxes in my fifth-floor walk-up. I bought starter plants — $2 to $3 apiece — including romaine and red leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, a few kinds herbs and okra. (Yes, I really do I like it.)
The okra died a quick death (I'm trying a new batch) but the tomato plants are thriving. My real pride and joy, though, is the lettuce. It's doubled in size and is almost as wide as the container it's in.
One problem: I'd never seen it grow before and wasn't sure how to harvest it. I have to open the window to water my micro crops, and the lettuce leaves were in danger of getting mangled, so I started plucking off a leaf or two at a time.
It's tasty, fresh, highly fuel-efficient and right outside my kitchen window.