How to start an urban garden in Chicago: a round-up


After the threat of winter frosts are well and truly behind us (anyday now), it is time to begin Spring planting, then eagerly anticipating blooms and produce throughout the summer. Participating in the local food movement via an edible garden of your own is a great way to enjoy organic, non-GMO crops, have fun experiencing the rainbow of varieties that exist outside of mainstream grocery stores, eat more wholesome foods, and experience all the benefits of shopping at a farmers market within a variety of budgets. Plus, zero food miles to acquire. Hopefully some of the links below will provide a good jumping off point for those looking to start edible gardens in the Chicago area.

moss HQ has a burgeoning native edible garden and planter box, but the backyard portion is unfortunately the recipient of limited sunlight, due to a tall house in the adjacent lot. Still, these are all things we have grown successfully, so maybe it’ll provide some inspiration!

We’re in Growing Zone 6, as we discussed in our post on fruit trees in Chicago. Here’s a quick rundown of what to start doing to your garden in April, as per our specific zone.

Here’s a guide to starting a garden in Chicago.

Some helpful tricks and tips about what to plant where in an edible garden. For example, raspberries and blueberries need several varieties to cross-pollinate, and cucumbers are best planted on a trellis. And this excellent post from Apartment Therapy on how to approach first time vegetable gardening is a good read.

Bring a friend and create a planter box at the ReBuilding Exchange this weekend, to use some of your newfound knowledge.

Here’s an excellent article on Zach Pickens of Rooftop Ready on the journey of saving seeds and watching species adapt, sticking it to Monsanto and why monocultures are a perilous idea.

Ten tips on window gardening from Tessa of Sprout Home, via Design Sponge.

The 2013 Farmers Almanac lists Chicago-specific planting dates for certain edible crops.

We’ll be documenting two gardens all Spring and Summer: the one here at moss and the one in my backyard in Logan Square. We’ll be posting here, and on our twitter and instagram.