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Peterson Garden Project (PGP) New Gardener Sign-up!

Peterson Garden Project (PGP) New Gardener Sign-up!
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  • Peterson Garden Project (PGP) New Gardener Sign-up!

    Post #1 - January 30th, 2017, 12:35 pm
    Post #1 - January 30th, 2017, 12:35 pm Post #1 - January 30th, 2017, 12:35 pm
    What: New Gardener Membership Opens Feb. 1 for Peterson Garden Project Pop-up Victory Gardens
    When: February 1 at 8am
    Where: - please note, registration begins the morning of February 1
    Questions: Email registration at

    Learn to grow your own food organically with Peterson Garden Project! Register beginning Feb. 1 to secure your membership; garden plots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Full details can be found on our website.

    Peterson Garden Project's mission is to educate and inspire everyone to grow and cook their own food, and our winter series of cooking and gardening classes is well underway. From knife skills to compost, seed swaps to homemade Indian food, we've got something for everyone! See the full schedule of events and sign up on our website.

    Excited about gardening, but can't join us this year? Check out our book Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland: A month-by-month Growing Guide for Beginners to bloom wherever you may be planting. Purchase it now from Amazon.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #2 - March 24th, 2020, 10:39 am
    Post #2 - March 24th, 2020, 10:39 am Post #2 - March 24th, 2020, 10:39 am
    Sula has a pair of great interviews this week, one with PGP founder LaManda Joy, and the other with PGP alum Breanne Heath, who managed the Peterson Garden Project’s community gardens for five years, and is now a manager of the Chicago Park District's gardening programs.

    at, Mike Sula wrote:COVID-19 has struck Illinois in force just as the spring gardening season is starting. If you’re a gardener in Chicago, you’ve probably already ordered and started germinating your seeds, plotted your now-dormant backyard or balcony plot (or pots), and made a wish list of seedlings you’d like to buy from garden centers and the various community plant sales scheduled to begin in May (see below).

    If you’re not a gardener, you might be thinking about becoming one. You can’t grow toilet paper, but you can grow your own food. If you aren’t thinking of gardening, you should, if only because it will give you something rewarding and productive to do.* Right now food insecurity is an (anxious) state of mind, so please don’t hoard. Growing your own food yields many good things besides the food. There’s nothing more meditative and peaceful than spending a summer watching your own basil plant sprout and flourish.

    I have yet to hear from the city or state whether garden centers and community plant sales will be considered essential businesses and be allowed to sell the millions of seedlings now coming up in commercial greenhouses, but many passages in Governor Pritzker’s executive order indicate that they all are. But it’s all uncertain. I know one garden center that has closed. I know another that plans to stay open. The Chicago Park District has closed all its fieldhouses and playgrounds, but a representative tells me that May plant sales at Kilbourn and Garfield Park have not been cancelled.

    During World War II a massive worldwide gardening campaign known as Victory Gardens provided food security for millions of people during disruptions to the supply chain. Chicago was a leader in that movement. And it could be again.

    I talked with a pair of gardening experts about why home and community gardening is more important now than ever, and what they had to say is encouraging.

    Get growing

    Same planet, different world
  • Post #3 - February 7th, 2021, 6:41 pm
    Post #3 - February 7th, 2021, 6:41 pm Post #3 - February 7th, 2021, 6:41 pm
    I just signed up for a plot at the Howard community garden. We moved to a house in the fall of 2019, so 2020 was my first foray into city gardening. I had a blast, but because of limited sunlight, I spent a lot of the summer (ie, every few weeks) relocating pots* to areas of prime sun.

    I'd love suggestions for veggies that will benefit from full sun, but also don't need daily tending. Because I grew everything in pots last year, watering was a constant issue but I'm guessing that veggies grown directly in the ground will need less watering. My aunt suggested peas and beans, which sound great. I'm guessing squash varieties would also do well. Things like tomatoes and herbs I'll continue to grow at home so I can pick as needed and/or when they're at the peak of ripeness.

    * If anyone has a raised bed on wheels that they recommend, I'd welcome the suggestion. Between April and October my tomatoes were relocated about 8 times in an effort to maximize sun exposure. That doesn't include the 8-10 times I dragged them into the garage because of freezing weather/snow between when I planted them in April (too early but I wasn't sure if/when I'd get to a garden center again) and late May. This year I'll plant in late May and save myself the misery.
  • Post #4 - February 13th, 2021, 7:24 pm
    Post #4 - February 13th, 2021, 7:24 pm Post #4 - February 13th, 2021, 7:24 pm
    Hi- I finally got around to answering you. You don't have any spot to plant your tomato plants in the ground? If you don't have a lot of sun, maybe you should plant your tomato plants in your community garden. Tomatoes need lots of sunlight. Lettuce, spinach and peas do not require as much sunlight. There is somebody else here who gardens at the Howard garden I think.

    I posted this on the Evanston farmer's market topic, but I assume you live in Roger's Park, if you are gardening at Howard. Teresa Brockman, who is Henry's sister, sells really nice organic plant starts at the Evanston market every year. Last year because of COVID, they asked her to have people preorder them, and then pick them up at the market. Everybody was gardening last summer, and they went in a week. This year, she decided to offer them earlier, and I just got her email about her plant sale last Sunday. She has tons of heirloom plants, and especially tomato plants. She charges $5 per plant start, but if you order 10-29 plant starts, you get 10% off, and if you order 30 or more plant starts, you get 20% off. She is going to bring her cool weather plants to market on May 8th, and her warm weather plants such as tomatoes, eggplant, cukes and squash on May 22nd. She still has plenty of plant starts left, but I would order soon. She is low on a few varieties. I should warn you she does charge for sales tax. I bought 30 plants, and I got charges $9.90 for sales tax. At the market she charged more, but she did not charge extra for sales tax. Here is a link to her website.
  • Post #5 - February 15th, 2021, 10:56 am
    Post #5 - February 15th, 2021, 10:56 am Post #5 - February 15th, 2021, 10:56 am
    Thanks for the reply! I'll be honest, I'm loathe to plant tomatoes in the plot because I get so much summer joy from walking out my door to pick a few perfectly ripe tomatoes that I eat within minutes of picking. But maybe I'll have some tomato plants in both locations, particularly since my next-door neighbor's opossum also really enjoys snacking on (my) freshly picked tomatoes.
  • Post #6 - August 9th, 2021, 6:02 pm
    Post #6 - August 9th, 2021, 6:02 pm Post #6 - August 9th, 2021, 6:02 pm
    This isn't PGP specific, but more of a general community garden question...

    I've had bad luck with my plot this year. It was clear the soil wasn't great, so I spent a weekend trying to improve the quality -- pulling weeds, adding manure and raised bed soil, adding organic fertilizer, etc. Stupidly, I didn't do a soil test after all of that, but should have, because when I finally did one in July, nitrogen was non-existent.

    My tomato plants have suffered, first from the lack of nitrogen, then from some critter (either a rat, rabbit or bird, based on what glimpses I've gotten) that is determined to eat every one of my tomatoes, plus some zucchini and cucumbers. It kills me to walk past plots with tomato plants laden down with ripe tomatoes, only to get to my plot where the three plants have about eight tomatoes between them, with the ripest ones being eaten. (I've literally picked two tomatoes -- both of which may have had gnaw marks -- three zucchini and one cucumber. Basically I'm paying $20 per veggie at this rate.)

    I've emailed the PGP leaders and they've assured me that I can move to a different location in the garden next year if my plot is cursed, but I guess I need some reassurance -- is it really worth it? Or does everyone deal with these headaches in community gardens, and do only the most persistent survive?
  • Post #7 - August 9th, 2021, 8:21 pm
    Post #7 - August 9th, 2021, 8:21 pm Post #7 - August 9th, 2021, 8:21 pm
    I have a garden in the McCormick community garden in Evanston. One year we had a major problem with deer, and because of that the great majority of the gardeners put up a fence. One of the gardeners actually set up a camera after she put up a fence to see how they were coming into her garden. She had a plastic fence, and they were just leaning against the fence to get her tomatoes.

    I don't think it would help you to switch gardens. It would help if you knew what animal was eating your tomatoes. The first year I had my garden, I planted some parsley plants. The next day I came out to my garden, and some animal had eaten most of the plants, and just left stumps. I don't know if it was a rabbit or a cat that had gotten loose.

    Are they eating the whole tomato, or just leaving holes in the tomatoes? If they are just leaving holes you could be dealing with slugs. Manure is supposed to have lots of nitrogen, but if you need a quicker source of it fish emulsion is supposed to be good. I've used fish emulsion in my garden before. You can get it at Menards or maybe home depot I think.
  • Post #8 - August 9th, 2021, 8:26 pm
    Post #8 - August 9th, 2021, 8:26 pm Post #8 - August 9th, 2021, 8:26 pm
    I just checked and home depot has fish emulsion in their Evanston store, but Menards does not carry it,