In this episode, we will be discussing spring vegetable gardening in the Chicago area in preparation for the upcoming season.
April in Chicago for gardeners sometimes can seem like it is a remote endeavor. However, there is much to do and consider. Some people are already deeply involved in gardening doing seed starts and if they have season extension they perhaps have some crops growing. In fact, at an event I went to recently I was speaking to the manager of the Urban Growers Collective Farm and was told that many cool weather crops are well on their way to maturity because of the UGC greenhouses. Most of us home-based gardeners do not have access to a greenhouse but there are other strategies that we can use to kickstart the season. At a minimum, we can start seeds early if we want to get started early.
Of course, it is just fine to wait until the weather warms a bit and get started in mid-May into early June. No guilt here most gardeners are going to grow during the warmer part of the season, the goal is that households spend time growing at least some of their food during the gardening season.
During the episode, we mentioned that in planning for your garden this season you should be certain to incorporate pollinators and companion plants into your design, click the links for more detailed information. Keywords for a deeper overview through an internet search, include pollinators for vegetable gardening, pollinators for vegetable gardening in USDA hardiness zones 5 and 6, companion plants for vegetable gardening, companion planting, etc.
Our focus as we have stated in previous episodes is fabric grow bag gardening, although there are other containers to choose from. Many crops can be grown in fabric grow bags and there are varieties that are really compatible with container gardening*. Again, get going and have fun.
In May, we will cover the topic of soil, and talk about the Chicago Grows Food coalition and their garden education programs and home garden pilot project. Of course, we will discuss garden activities you should consider doing for May.
Although we focus on fabric grow bags there are additional container options. For example, many people use 5-gallon buckets, be certain they are food grade.
Burlap bags are another option and again make sure they are food grade. Beware though that they are not portable and once filled with soil they are immovable without some effort.
Window boxes are an option as well especially if you have limited space.
*The link is an example of varieties that are especially suitable for containers and in no way should be considered an endorsement of the company.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed are the speaker’s own and do not represent the views, thoughts, and opinions of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Office of Community Engagement and Health Partnerships, or the Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion. The material and information presented here are for general information purposes only. While the podcast is designed to promote the development of healthy communities through food, we offer no health advice and encourage our guests to seek guidance from their health care professionals.