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!...

Basil at Summer̵...

With the cold weather in Chicagoland and parts of the midwest this weekend, it’s a good time to harvest, protect, or bring cold-sensitive plants like basil indoors. Basil’s tender leaves turn brown when exposed to low temperatures, which usually happens below 50 degrees. To...

Tomato POW(d)ER!

Tomato Preservation: Easy Homemade Tomato Powder Running out of ways to preserve your tomatoes? Canning and freezing are good options, but can take up space in your cabinet or freezer that you may not have this late in the season. Another easy way to bottle the fresh garden flavor...

Tomato Time!

Summer’s sweet, long-awaited treasure, tomatoes are by far the most popular crop among American gardeners. There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, each one more unique than the next, with some heirloom varieties spanning almost every color of the rainbow. Certain varieties are adapted...

Husky Edibles –...

Tomatillos and ground cherries both belong to the nightshade family, and although they taste very different, they look very similar. Both fruits grow like paper lanterns, enclosed in an inedible husk. Tomatillos are medium sized, while ground cherries produce a cherry-sized fruit and closely...

About Eggplant

Eggplant is a heat-loving crop native to India, and comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some 18th-century European varieties were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs, hence the name “eggplant”. Eggplant is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important...

The “Long Arm&...

As gardeners, we all take a degree of pleasure and pride in our plots and their produce.  We are attuned to the forces of nature at work in our bits of urban habitat.  We talk about our gardens and what we see; we bend the ear of our friends, our family, and random folk.  Our enthusiasm for...

The Edible Treasures...

  Guest post by Maribeth Brewer  …from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. ― Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species   Opening in the spring of 2012, the Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum of Natural History...

Squash Vine Borers

Did your squash plants suddenly wilt? Chances are, squash vine borers are to blame. These larvae burrow in the stems, cutting off the water supply to the plant. If you can find them while they’re still small, you can often remove them and the plant will heal, continuing with production...

Invite native pollin...

Urban gardening is the radical act of rethinking our place in the economic and physical landscape; we are, for the space of a midwest summer, shortening the human food chain, lessening our dependence on industrial agriculture, and re-establishing the connection between food and community that...

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...

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...

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...

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...