A Year of Thankful… by LaManda Joy...

  Amazed. Joyous. Awe-filled… these are words, in addition to thankful, that come to mind when considering everything that 2012 has brought to our project. And I do mean our project. The Peterson Garden Project is about community – everything we do is accomplished because people want to work together to create places and experiences that forward the local food movement in Chicago. In our case, one family at a time. At the start of the year, when the idea of recreating 1% of what Chicago’s historic Victory Gardeners had done in 1942 kept percolating to the surface, we pondered – could it work? Would the community join us in this vision? Now, toward the end of the year, as we look back at the four giant Pop-up Victory Gardens, the Edible Treasures garden at The Field Museum, the 1,000 pounds of food donated to community food agencies via our Grow2Give program and the hundreds of people who learned to grow food because of the effort we can say “hell yes! We CAN do this”… if a bunch of volunteers, willing property owners and communities want to make a change in how we access food then we can do it. And on a large scale. In the photo above you will notice two things 1. a gnome and 2. a trophy. The gnome will have to attest to the wording on the trophy (which is a little hard to read) but it is from the Governor’s Sustainability Awards. Our work was recognized earlier in November for taking unused, unsightly urban land and converting it – albeit temporarily – into community food hubs that have an impact on the environment, transportation costs, community involvement and more. If the Governor’s office is noticing then we are all...

Fall Planting: Grow2Give Leads the Way – by Xan Nelson...

Starting this weekend, the Grow2Give teams at The Peterson Garden Project will start removing summer crops and planting for fall.  Here’s how we, and you, can approach this project. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you clean out your garden, take the plant material HOME and compost it or dispose. We don’t have the space or the staff (we don’t have ANY staff!) to clean up piles of plant matter in the garden. We need your help! Plus, keeping the garden free of piles of debris helps cut down on critters. Please help! What to keep The first thing to think about when preparing for the fall garden, is what do you have that will keep producing until the frost (between October 10 and November 1 in Chicago, depending on the current weather pattern and your microclimate).  We’ll be leaving the tomatoes (more below on “what to remove”), most of the squash, any greens or brassicas that survived the summer heat, root vegetables, peppers, eggplants, some of the cukes, and the herbs. These plants are all still producing a lot of harvest, and setting flowers. What to remove You have to look at your vegetables with a critical eye, especially when you’ve got limited space. Are your cucumbers mostly yellow or brown (or suffering from powdery mildew)? Even if they’re still bearing a few fruits, think about removing them, as they’re probably elderly enough to be slowing down.  The solanum family, too—look at your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. If they’re not bearing, not setting new flowers, or are suffering from blight or wilt, think about removing them. At Grow2Give we’ll be taking out all the cucumbers, except the Armenians, and all the beans that are done bearing. (Many bush beans will bear all at once, and then slow...

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