I have a garden! If you follow me on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, you probably know this already, but I’m so, so excited that this will be my first year growing more than a little pot of lettuce and some flowers on my porch.
I learned about Chicago’s Peterson Garden Project and their pop-up victory gardens last year, but finally joined after urging from a friend who’s gardened with them in the past. For $75, I get a 4×8 plot with organic soil that’s all mine from April through October. Most people with a garden this size use the square foot gardening method (I’ll share more about that in another post), so I’m following suit for now. It’s definitely different than what I remember from my dad’s garden growing up and its orderly rows of beans and carrots and lettuce and corn.
So far I’ve planted seeds for:
- Lettuce: Freckles, Marvel of Four Seasons, Red Sails
- Radishes: Plum Purple, Breakfast, Watermelon
- Blue Lake bush beans
- Sugar Snap pole peas
- Mixed swiss chard
- Borage (recommended to attract bees)
I also bought baby plants of:
- Tomatoes: Mortgage Lifter (slicing), Mexico Midget (cherry), Blondkopfchen (cherry)
- Tomatillo de Milpa (purple tomatillo)
- Basil: Purple, Lemon
- Tolli’s Sweet Italian red pepper
- Diamond eggplant
- Onions (not sure what kind)
Other plants I still need to buy are:
- Cucumbers (I hope I can find a baby cucumber to use for making cornichons!)
- Herbs: Genovese basil, parsley, thyme, chives/garlic chives, oregano, mint (only in a pot)
- Hot pepper
The history of victory gardens goes back to World War II and, reassuringly, I learned that people back then knew about as much as I do about having a vegetable garden than I do (which is pretty much nil, but luckily I have plenty of green thumb-ed friends and family as guides)! The Peterson Garden Project is a lot more recent, but is doing great work in a lot of areas I’m passionate about: eating locally, making good food accessible to under-served communities, helping people (like me!) learn to grow their own food, putting neglected urban spaces to good use, and building strong communities around Chicago. They’re doing much more than that, which I’ll talk about in another post, but for now I’ll direct you to their website if you want to learn more.
I’m positively giddy to see how this experiment goes and how different this view looks come July!
(P.S. I don’t have any association with PGP other than thinking what they do is worth sharing.)