Join Us for Seeds and Biscuits on March 5...

Get ready for growing season! Join us for two fun events on March 5 at the Broadway Armory, 5917 North Broadway in Chicago: Eighth Annual Seed Swap, 1-4pm (Armory Ballroom) “Biscuits & Bloodys” Brunch, noon-2pm (PGP Community Cooking School) The Seed Swap, held from 1 to 4 pm in the second floor Armory Ballroom, is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Attendees are invited to bring leftover seed packets or seeds saved from their gardens to share. The event will also include several free demonstrations to help you start and grow your seeds.    This year will also feature a “Biscuits & Bloodys” fundraiser brunch sponsored by the PGP Board of Directors from noon to 2 pm in the PGP Community Cooking School, just down the hall from the Seed Swap. Tickets are $15 (online or at the door) and include a biscuit and gravy, homemade jam and pickles and a complimentary Bloody Mary with all the fixings. Gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available.   Last year’s seed swap brought more than 150 gardeners eager to trade seeds from a variety of vendors, as well as seeds saved by individual gardeners. In addition to a wide selection of seeds to share, there will also be free seed sowing and worm bin demonstrations, garden books and merchandise for purchase and garden experts to offer helpful hints and answer questions. Check out our blog post “5 Reasons to Attend the Seed Swap” for more information about the...

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 mildew than other basils. Heirloom Tomatoes Aunt Ruby’s German Green  Blondkopfchen  Eva Purple Ball Green Zebra Juane Flamme Nyagous Opalka Tigerella Hybrid Tomatoes Celebrity Sungold Herbs Bouquet Dill Chives Cilantro Eleonora Basil Garlic Chives Genovese Basil German Chamomile Giant of Italy Parsley Greek Oregano Green Culinary Sage Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil Purple Dark Opal Basil Triple Curled Parsley Thyme Peppers California Wonder King of the North Tolli’s Sweet Italian Chiles Ancho Gigantea Poblano Beaver Dam Jalapeno Maule’s Red Hot Eggplant Casper Florida High Bush Listada de Gandia Pingtung Long Kale Dwarf Blue Curled Lacinato Red Russian Ground Cherry Aunt Molly’s Sweet Tomatillo Green Husk Purple de Milpa Don’t see your favorites listed? There’s still time to start your own seeds! Where are the cucumber, zucchini and lettuce plants? We recommend planting these and many other seeds directly in the ground. Although you may see them for sale at other garden centers, in our experience we have noticed that when these seeds are planted directly into the soil, they tend to be much healthier and productive. Here’s what we’ll be offering in seed packets during the sale – these can be planted mid-May through late June: Arugula – Organic Asian Greens – Prize Choy Beans – Dragon’s Tongue, Fin de Bagnol, Pencil Pod Golden Wax, Provider, Purple Pod Pole, Rattlesnake Pole, Scarlet Runner Beets – Chioggia Organic, Bull’s Blood Organic, Burpee’s Golden Organic Carrots – Dragon, Paris Market, Scarlet Nantes Corn – Blue Jade Organic, Two Inch Strawberry Popcorn Collards – Georgia Southern Cucumbers – Bushy Organic, Snow’s Fancy Edible Flowers – Calendula Mixture, Rostov Organic Sunflower, Starfire...

Part 1: Seed Starting Tips...

Start with clean plant pots, clean hands and a sterile seed starting mix. Most bagged mixes are already sterile. Starting seeds indoors in topsoil or compost can sometimes lead to fungal diseases in the seedlings, or too many nutrients that overwhelm the young plants. Moisten your seed starting mix before putting into pots. This will ensure that the soil is moist enough to start seeds, as well as leave lovely pockets of air in the pot. If you put dry soil starting mix in the pot, then pour water over – you run the risk of sinking your seed further under the weight of the water, or the water filling in those air pockets, which are great for healthy root development. Plant your seeds at the correct depth. A general rule of thumb is to plant the seed twice the depth of its size. Very small or thin seeds such as pepper, mustard greens, or broccoli should go just below the surface. Lettuce seeds benefit and will germinate faster if they are slightly exposed on the surface. Keep plastic wrap or a plastic dome on top of the pots once your seeds are in. This will help retain moisture around your seeds. Keep this on until you see them start to sprout. You may also lightly mist the top of the seed starting mix with a spray bottle once or twice daily. Put your pots in a tray so you can add water from the bottom. The seed starting mix will absorb as much water as needed. Make sure your plant pots have holes in the bottom to let moisture come in and excess moisture go out. Don’t keep the tray flooded with water daily – let it get absorbed into the seed starting...

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