Seed Starting for Fa...

Although we’re just picking our first tomatoes, it’s already time to think about starting seeds for fall harvests. Starting seeds in mid-July is largely the same as starting seeds in early spring, but keep in mind: Many homes are a little warmer now with the summer heat, so seeds...

Kale: Harvesting, Co...

Kale is one of the most versatile greens to grow, as it can be used in anything from stews to salads, in chips, and even smoothies! Kale is a member of the brassica family, and can have different flavors depending on what time of year it is harvested. The leaves are mild in spring and early...

Curtis Irby: VOW

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each VOW will be able to pick out 3 packets of seeds (Rene’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! This...

Squash those bugs!

Squash bugs are here, and if you haven’t seen the damage the adult’s toxic saliva can do to your squash and zucchini plants yet, you may have noticed their brown jewel-like eggs under the leaves. The best thing to do now to prevent widespread damage is to search for and destroy...

Toward Windy City To...

Even if you started gardening only this year, you’ve probably already discovered that urban gardeners and farmers face a number of unique challenges, from uncertain water supplies to soil of widely varying quality. These challenges could be addressed through plant selection and...

Lin Prucher: VOW

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each VOW will be able to pick out 3 packets of seeds (Rene’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! This...

Summer Fungi Aren...

Summer is in full swing and so are some of the fungal diseases that affect our plants. The first signs – yellowing leaves, brown streaks, and white fuzzy patches – are easy to ignore at first, but left alone, they will spread throughout the plant and the rest of your garden fairly...

Kris Pierre: Thankfu...

LaManda Joy first met Kris Pierre through the North River Commission.  It was Kris, Director of Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University on Chicago’s northwest side, who told LaManda about “Reimagining Food,” their all-campus project to address food issues in the curriculum, the...

Lindsay Jacobson: VO...

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each VOW will be able to pick out 3 packets of seeds (Rene’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! This...

Time for mid-season ...

For many fruits and vegetables, the beginning of summer is the beginning of vigorous growth and production – which takes quite a lot of nutrients to sustain. To give your plants what they need to produce those gorgeous tomatoes, zucchini and kale, they will likely need a boost. You have a few...

What We’re Pla...

Summer is here in Chicagoland and, if you planted earlier this spring, most of your cool-weather crops have matured and been harvested, leaving open spaces in your plot. Others may be just about ready to pick. Or maybe you are starting your garden for the first time this season and are unsure...

Garlic Scapes

You may have heard about garlic scapes, or seen them in the farmers’ market. Garlic scapes are the stalks of hardneck garlic, and gardeners typically remove them around the end of June. Removing the developing scape helps the plant divert energy from creating something that is similar...

Big Picture

Peterson Garden Project is one bright star in a big universe of the community gardening movement. Our organization has been nurtured, supported, challenged (in good ways!) and invigorated by others in this sphere that are dedicated, like we are, to making food growing and green space the...

Music in the Gardens

Musician Brian Eno says creating music is like being a gardener: “One is making a kind of music in the way that one might make a garden. One is carefully constructing seeds, or finding seeds, carefully planting them and then letting them have their life. And that life isn’t necessarily...

Volunteer of the Wee...

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each VOW will be able to pick out 3 packets of seeds (Rene’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! This...

Someone’s eati...

Have you noticed big pieces of your plants missing? Those holes are likely evidence of cabbage white butterfly larvae, who love to munch on plants in the brassica family, including kale, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. The fuzzy green worms blend in with the leaves, and can...

Gardening for Stress...

Have you ever wondered whether gardening can help with everyday stress? Stress is a known risk factor for preventable chronic disease and plagues many of us living in a noisy, hectic urban environment.  During the 2013 gardening season, our research partner from Northwestern University, Sarah...

Volunteer of the Wee...

It’s that time of year again! We’re celebrating our wonderful volunteers with our Volunteer of the Week series, thanking the folks who help make Peterson Garden Project tick. This week we would like to recognize Debbie Sheriff! Debbie is a gardener at Ashlandia, and truly has the...

A sweet way to use h...

Running out of ideas for ways to use your excess herbs? Try making herbal simple syrups! Simply combine 2 parts sugar and 1 part water (example: 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water), and bring just to a boil in a sauce pot. Turn the heat off, and add 2 large handfuls of fresh herbs (just tear the...

Kris Pierre and NEIU

We first learned about the possibility of a garden on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University in 2012, through our friends and mentors at the North River Commission. We’ve met too many other people to name, but it’s easy to say that every one of them has been an amazing source of...

Give your plants a b...

If your plants look light-green or even have a tinge of yellow all over, it might be time to add Epsom salt. Epsom salt isn’t just for sore muscles – it contains magnesium and sulfur, two much-needed nutrients for your garden. You can add 1 tsp. around the base of small plants, and up...

Beetlejuice!

Cucumber beetles are out! The beetles that are emerging now had overwintered (darn! we were hoping the polar vortex would wipe them out) and are out to mate. In about a week, females will lay eggs in the soil and once hatched, the larvae will nibble on corn roots before developing into...

Bigger harvest?

Do your tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, or peppers have flowers already? If the plants are small or not very bushy, take a moment to pinch off the flowers until about mid-June in the Chicago area. The flowers will bear fruit once pollinated, but if your plant is too small when it...