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...

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...

Spring Garden Prep

Whether you’re growing in a raised bed or in the soil, the surface of your garden might look like this is in the spring: Left uncovered throughout the winter, soil can take on a grayish appearance and pebbles may graze the surface. Weeds will start to pop up and the soil level may be a...

What’s in my g...

Before you start clearing out your plot this spring, make sure you aren’t removing plants you may actually want to keep. After a long winter, herbs like sage and thyme might look dead, but as perennials they should start springing back to life within a few weeks. Here’s a quick...

An Interview With La...

I sat down with LaManda Joy to talk to her about her new book, Starting a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook from Timber Press. Alexandra: Why did you write another book? LaManda: Because people knew of my involvement with Peterson Garden Project and the American Community...

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...