Bringing Overwintere...

If you brought woodsy herbs such as rosemary or thyme indoors for the winter, it will soon be time to transition them for outdoor growing. This is much like hardening-off seedlings before transplanting. Indoor-grown herbs are typically somewhat dormant during the winter, receiving less light,...

Growing + newbie = g...

Are you a “grewbie”? Our newest gardeners love the basic information offered by experienced gardeners trained to offer our Grewbie 101. The one-hour free class covers everything from amending to soil to making garden friendships. Find the garden nearest you! April 25 Ashlandia Global...

Plants Have Stories ...

At Peterson Garden Project we love stories. We’ve told our own origin story so many times most of us can recite it in our sleep. It’s been told so often that we’ve even heard a fairly mythologized version of it that attributes our founding to people we’ve never even heard of. Stories are an...

Success with Peas an...

If you’ve had trouble with pea, fava and bean production, take note! 1. Soak the seeds a few hours to overnight. This will help the seed coats soften, take in water and swell- allowing for faster germination. 2. Inoculate with Rhizobium bacteria. This isn’t necessary if you...

Just Getting Started

April is the time to ready for the new growing season here in the frozen north (ish). Gardeners, the original optimists, assume every year that it’s going to be warm and sunny, with just the right amount of rain, and never on the weekends, so you can get outside and work. The reality of...

2015 Plant Sale List...

We’re bringing back our best-selling heirloom favorites for the 2015 annual plant sale! We’ve added two hybrid tomatoes- selected for great taste and disease resistance- as well as an open-pollinated basil variety, ‘Eleonora’, which is more resistant to downy...

The Importance of Po...

  These spinach seedlings started out their lives the same – in peat pots, planted at the same time. One was “thinned” and “potted up” while the others were left exactly how they started. Why the difference in size? Thinning seedlings to just one plant per...

Hipster Supported Ag...

I think of our programs with teens this way—Hipster Supported Agriculture. It’s a play on the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (that’s what all “CSA” stands for—those programs where you get your weekly tomatoes, carrots and inexplicable 12 pounds of celeriac). But it’s also a way to...

Communicate Everythi...

At Peterson Garden Project, we have a “five tricks” approach to volunteers: Communicate, Share, Listen, Assign, and Reward. The most important thing we do for volunteers is to communicate with them. The more pertinent information we share, the better every volunteer’s experience will be....

Cooking Like Your Gr...

When I first started gardening, Nin, my Chinese mother-in-law, brought me seeds. Winter melon. Long, sweet cucumbers, snow peas, black beans. And something she calls “han toi.” Years later I have figured out that han toi is probably something like quinoa. But she planted it for the dark red...

Tomato Talk With Joh...

Dr. John Taylor is well-known to the PGP communities at Global Gardens and Hello!Howard (and almost 20 gardens and urban farms throughout Chicago), where he ran a research project in 2014 to study tomato cultivars in urban growing conditions. John is interested in more than the best tomato to...

De-Mystifying Seed C...

Although seed catalogs started arriving weeks ago, it’s been hard to think about garden planning until this week (when the snow finally started to melt!), reminding us that spring is just around the corner. For some enthusiastic gardeners, the seed catalog is a giant wish list, with...

Your Grandma Made Du...

My grandma made dumplings. Everyone’s grandma made dumplings. Based on my grandma’s dumplings (Chinese), I think I would have to speculate that the Chinese invented the concept, because there are dozens of Chinese dumplings—boiled, deep-fried, pan-fried, baked, and steamed, with sweet,...

Is it time to start ...

Generally we suggest our new gardeners buy transplants the first year and wait until they have a season (or two) under their belts before they tackle seed starting. But if you’re ready, here’s some real-time info that will help you. The most important thing to consider is timing....

Cooking the Books

How many cookbooks do you have? And more to the point, how many cookbooks do you use? If you’re like us, you’ve got dozens, but you consistently go back to just two or three of them. (probably the same couple of recipes every time as well). Maybe it’s that bread recipe with your mother’s...

Part 2: Seed Startin...

If you’ve ever seen a volunteer tomato, dill or squash seedling pop up unexpectedly in your garden plot, you may think that starting seeds is as easy as dropping them in the soil and waiting. And it is – given the right temperature, moisture, soil, and passage of time. But getting...

Part 1: Seed Startin...

Start with clean plant pots, clean hands and a sterile seed starting mix. Most bagged mixes are already sterile. Starting seeds indoors in topsoil or compost can sometimes lead to fungal diseases in the seedlings, or too many nutrients that overwhelm the young plants. Moisten your seed...

Advice for New Garde...

As part of her fieldwork among PGP gardeners, Sarah R. Taylor, our research partner from Northwestern University, asked participants with at least 1-2 years’ experience to offer advice to new gardeners just starting out. Here are the top 5 responses, summed up in easy-to-digest bites: 1. Have...

VOW’s 2014

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each Volunteer of the Week (VOW) of 2014 had a chance to select three packets of seeds (Renee’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local...

Grow2Give

At this time of year, we often think of what we are thankful for, and give to others in need. With many food pantries and soup kitchens relying on donations or cheaply purchased leftover or unwanted food, fresh fruits and vegetables are a rare sight among staples like canned beans, rice and...

Indoor Herb Care ...

After the past few frosty weeks, fresh herbs on the windowsill are a welcome sight in the home of a gardener with an itchy green thumb. Whether you’ve transplanted them from your garden or are eyeing some at the grocery store, we have a few tips for you to keep them in the best shape...

Autumn Aphid Invasio...

While many different kinds of aphids can appear on different types of plants during most times of the year, cabbage aphids tend to appear on plants in the Brassica family (kale, broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) in early fall.  At this time, temperatures start to drop...

Cid Stanford: Volunt...

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 (Renee’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house!...