Harvesting Green Tom...

Green tomatoes for frying aren’t often sold at markets in Chicagoland, and are one of the unique treats one can enjoy from the garden. While all tomatoes are green while unripe, there is a right time to pick a green tomato for frying, and this is not often explained in fried green...

The Three Sisters

Corn is possibly the most domesticated organism on the planet (aside from us!). Archeologists have identified domesticated corn as old as the oldest identified human settlement in the Americas, but only recently identified its wild parent, teosinte, through genetic testing. On first planting...

Cooking From the Gar...

It’s about to start: more produce than you know what to do with. Cooking from the garden, sometimes called grocery gardening, is its own skill. The best place to start is at the garden. Go on the way home from work and ask yourself—how many people am I feeding, what is in my larder at home...

What is an Expert Ga...

At Peterson Garden Project, our mantra is “learn it by doing it.” Sometimes, in fact, we like our mistakes best. If only because it’s good for a blog post. Another good way to approach a garden is to remember that the plants know what to do. The gardener is kinda just along for the ride. Keep...

Cooking With My Daug...

By Alexandra Samios Nelson Every family has its myths and stories; they constitute the family’s collective memory. It’s important to families to have stories that connect you to the ancestors and to each other. Immigrant families treat storytelling in different ways– either mythical “old...

What Else Goes On In...

It’s not just tomatoes and bees anymore. Been to the movies lately? Because sometimes community gardens, like PGP’s Hello!Howard Garden, show them on their sites. Free. How about lunch. Do you like lunch? Come to a PGP Garden Social and it’s entirely possible you’ll get fed by Chipotle...

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...

Harvesting Scallions...

Scallions Depending on the species, scallions may be simply young onions harvested before the bulb begins to form or they may be bunching onions, which are closely related to onions, but do not go on to form a bulb when mature. Although when to harvest depends on the farmer’s or...

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...

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...

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...

Get Your Chard On!

With this June being one of the rainiest months on record in Chicagoland, lettuces, greens and leafy herbs have exploded in the garden. If you’re looking at your beautiful chard going from salad-size to enormous within  several days, here’s how to adjust your harvest technique....

Focus on the Positiv...

There are many joys in community gardening. I’ve run out of fingers, toes, the fingers and toes of my family, and of my friends, to count the amazing people I’ve met since I started gardening in a community, instead of just in my own backyard. Sometimes it’s fun to just walk around, looking...

About Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is a nutrient-rich leafy green that belongs to the same family as beets and spinach, and has a similar flavor profile with a bitter, acid-sweet taste. There are several varieties of swiss chard: red, green, silver (white), pink and gold. “Rainbow Chard” is actually a...

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 between the summer solstice and the end of June. Removing the developing scape helps the plant divert energy from creating...

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...

Thinning for Fat Veg...

If you direct-seeded earlier this spring or purchased plants at a nursery, it may be time to thin your seedlings! Thinning seedlings is an important task for maintaining plant health and ensuring plants have enough room to reach harvest size. Thinned seedlings have more space for air...

90% Community

The statistic in the title is a quote: “Community gardens are 10% garden and 90% community” (Pat Munts, Northwest Gardeners’ Handbook). We have some quotes of our own: “I lived and gardened in Rogers Park for 25 years and barely knew my neighbors, let alone another gardener. Now I walk into...

Edible Flowers

If you think the idea of eating flowers is new, think again: you’ve probably been eating them since you were young. A few of our common “vegetables” are actually flowers, and though we usually eat the buds, they’ll bloom if left on the plant.      Broccoli,...

We Can’t Say T...

April was Volunteer Month, and our volunteers came out in droves. Our first workday coincided with Gardens Open! on April 25. Volunteers braved a wet and chilly day to clear brush and weeds, fill beds, repair the Communication Stations and other tasks to bring the gardens back from their...

Bring Your Own Bag

Um, box. Well, tray. You’re all about sustainability and helping to save the planet. That’s why you garden! We’ve got 6,000 heirloom plants about to walk out our door at the annual Plant (and Bake) Sale. That’s a lot of trays to stack. (Spoiler—we aren’t stacking any.) Don’t forget to bring...

Digging in the Dirt

By Alexandra Nelson, U IL Extension Master Gardener You’re not supposed to call it dirt. As explained in Master Gardener training, “dirt” is what’s under your fingernails or on the knees of your jeans. That stuff in the garden is soil. Soil is just a mixture of organic remains, clay, rock...

What’s Cooking...

Like victory gardens, bake sales have a pretty grand history when it comes to bringing communities together, raising money for projects from school programs to, let’s say, city vegetable gardens. But beyond the history, it’s just awesome to buy a really tasty treat made by a neighbor to...