Ald. Harry Osterman

We’re doubly thankful today, and saying it in person to Alderman Harry Osterman and the Chicago Park District for the Fearless Food Kitchen.  When Ald. Osterman first told us about the kitchen, we thought he was joking. “Do you need a kitchen?” he asked LaManda in a meeting about Vedgewater Garden. “Sure, Harry,” LaManda said, “we’ll all come over to your house to cook.” “No really, I have a kitchen,” was his reply. What a kitchen. A fully equipped teaching kitchen housed inside the Broadway Armory, the Fearless Food Kitchen will provide a venue for people of all ages and from all backgrounds to learn how to select, prepare, cook and preserve food. With room for more than 40 people to participate in hands on food preparation classes (and many more for demonstrations and events), the Fearless Food Kitchen hopes to set a new standard for public food education in Chicago. Join us for our very first Open House on May 29, from 6 – 8pm co-hosted by 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman. At this open house, guests will get sneak peek of what’s to come with this new project, and we will invite feedback and suggestions about what sorts of programming the public is interested in. Thanks,...

What’s Bugging You?...

If you’re planting in your garden, you may have come across a few things with legs, lots of legs! Or maybe you’ve seen some of the damage they can do. Here’s what is popping up in our plots this week, and what to do about them: Pill bugs – These beneficial isopods help break down the organic matter in your garden, making nutrients more available to your edible plants. They love moist areas, eat dead and decaying plants, and generally leave your growing edibles alone. Leave them be if you can, but if it seems like your garden plot is overrun, you can remove nesting spaces (typically areas that are dark and moist, such as piles of dead plants), so they’ll travel somewhere else.   Japanese beetles– You’ll find these buried in the soil. Although the larvae won’t bother your edible plants or the roots, the flying adult beetles will emerge around late June or July, and they have been known to do quite a lot of damage with their voracious appetites! If you find one of these in your plot, it’s best and easiest to remove them now, as trapping the flying adults is a lot more difficult. Pick up the larva, and either drown it in soapy water, put into a sealed plastic bag and throw away, or as I do – feed to your chickens!   Flea beetles – If you’ve seen tiny round holes in leaves of plants in the Brassica family (kale, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips, broccoli), it’s likely that flea beetles are doing the damage. They are tiny and emerge in the early morning hours to hop around and eat! The most effective preventative control is to keep a floating row cover on your plants, though...

Chives!

Do you have chives in your garden? It’s harvest time! Chives are a member of the onion (allium) family and grow perennially (they come back year-to-year). Often chives are one of the first signs of spring as they can tolerate cold weather and, if you planted them last year, they’ll come up when they are ready! To harvest chives, you can cut the outer stems at the bottom with scissors or a knife, and add to a variety of dishes for mild onion flavor and vitamins A and K. Harvest up to a third of the plant at a time so there is enough energy to generate new growth, and you’ll have chives for the rest of the season! Recipe ideas: Toss chopped chives in with your scrambled eggs or omelets Sprinkle on top of a baked potato for a pop of flavor Throw the purple chive flowers into a salad as a substitute for onions- they’ve got a great mild onion flavor! Toss a handful of chopped chives into cornbread, muffin, pancake, or scone batter before baking to make a savory treat Try substituting chives for basil , and ricotta for Parmesan cheese in your favorite pesto recipe for an onion-y twist on classic pesto!...

Apart Pizza Luv Fest

    We love pizza! Our hard working block captains recently enjoyed some Apart Pizza at a meeting as we discussed the AWESOME fundraiser Apart is helping us with on Monday, May 12 and Tuesday, May 13… 15% of proceeds those days will go to Peterson Garden Project. If you love pizza and you love PGP think about pizza for dinner a night or two next week! Here are the locations and when you’re pondering which delicious pie to order, tell the kind folks at Apart that we really appreciate their support. Oh, they also have gluten free options so everyone can join in the fun! 5624 N Broadway  — (773) 784-1550 2205 W Montrose Ave — (773)...

Good Start for Seedlings...

Transplanting seedlings can be a bit of a shock for young plants, but you can ease the transition to your garden by keeping them outside, but in their pots for a few days. This will help the seedlings adjust to brighter outdoor light, stronger wind, and temperature fluctuations while they are still comfortable in their pots. This is especially important if you raised your seedlings indoors, or just purchased them at a plant sale. When your seedlings are transplanted, they begin new growth on roots, stems and leaves. This takes away some energy from the plant in adjusting to the new environment. By keeping your plants in the pots, but slowly exposing them to new growing conditions, you can ease the transition and prevent your seedlings from getting sunburned, broken in the wind, or shocked in the cold. Light: Your garden gets much brighter light than seedlings on a plant rack at a garden center or a sunny windowsill, or even grow lights indoors. Planting in the ground before the plants have had time to adjust can lead to sunburn on the leaves, which turns them white Wind: They also need to adjust to strong wind, especially the kind of wind we get in Chicagoland in the spring. They do not get that wind indoors or on a protected rack, resulting in thin stems that may break in a strong gust when outside. A few days with their stems swaying in the breeze, while still in their pots will help them get thicker and sturdier in time for planting. Temperature: Right now, our days are warming up but we still have cooler nights. Keep an eye on the weather, and if the temperatures drop below 50 for warm-weather crops like basil, tomatoes, and peppers, bring them indoors for the night. If the temperature drops below 40 for all other plants, bring...

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