How Does Your Garden Grow?

As we’ve talked about before, Chicago was Victory Garden Central during WWII. During the war, 1,500 urban gardens popped up, the North Park neighborhood had the largest garden in the country, and tons of food was produced.

Victory gardening was a way for the nation to prioritize its major agricultural resources. Large-scale farming operations could concentrate of the crops needed to feed armies and keep the homefront going with things that couldn’t be effectively gardened, like wheat and corn. Vegetables, which were nutritionally important, and possible to grow at home, were outsourced to the populace, largely women.

The Peterson Garden Project carries on that legacy, by providing space and education for urban gardening. I garden at Vedgewater, at the corner of Broadway and Rosemont. A garden on top of concrete lot, it definitely meets the “urban” requirement. I can see the Red Line “L” train go by from my plot.

Where would you buy ground cherries, for instance?

While I am not producing enough food to make it through rationing, it is a nice addition to our purchased food. I am definitely keeping us in greens. The real retrofitting value lies in feeling more connected to the weather, nature, and my neighbors. I’m also able to grow older and interesting varieties of vegetables, that don’t have enough appeal/ease of growing/etc to be available commercially.
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Victory Garden: Successes, Failures and Mysteries

Victory GardenThings are happening in my little garden!

Successful Things:

Kale and chard look like actual plants.
Beets and carrots are visible and growing.
Peas are trying to take over the world.
Those onions I didn’t plant are huge.
The strawberry has leetle teensy green berries.
Green beans are popping right up, except for the one that got crunched by some creature.

Unsuccessful Things:

My pepper and eggplant seedlings were not strong enough to make it. They were replaced by hardy plants from the garden center, same varieties.

Remains to be Seen:

My tomato seedlings are hanging in there, but may not be strong enough, either. In the event of their demise, I’ll replace them with Brandywine seedlings from the garden center.

My cucumbers just don’t know what they want to do with their lives.


Victory Garden: In the Garden!

Saturday was opening day at the Peterson Garden Project.

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“Woman with Onions” sounds like a Renaissance painting.

Saturday was rainy and cold, and still, I was excited.

The day began with a work day. I helped weed around the fence, and place welcome signs in the new gardeners’ plots (including mine!), and weeding and picking up trash around the fence. My plot came with a surprise–onions! Leftover from last year, they’re tall and fragrant and lovely.

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