Think Spring: Seed Swap for Gardeners This Sunday

By Patty Wetli | Friday, March 4, 2011

Start planning your summer vegetable garden now. Trade seeds and info at this weekend's Peterson Garden Project Seed Swap.

You’d never know it from the snow in this weekend’s forecast, but spring is on the way (allegedly). That means it’s time to start thinking about what to plant in your summer vegetable garden.

The Peterson Garden Project is sponsoring a seed swap this Sunday, March 6, 4 to 6 p.m., at Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Galter Pavilion, Second Floor, 5140 N. California.

Admittance is free, but an RSVP is required.

Trade your eggplant for zucchini, your cucumber for tomato. In addition to the seed exchange, there will also be opportunities to learn about planting, edible seeds, heirloom vegetables, and more.

Urban garden blogger Mr. Brown Thumb will be on hand, and attendees can cast a vote for their favorite veggie in the One Seed Chicago competition.

The Peterson Garden Project launched in 2010, making use of a vacant lot at Peterson and Campbell, owned by Asian Human Services.

The community garden boasts 140 raised plots, 24 square feet each, all worked organically.

Those interested in claiming a plot should contact the organization ASAP.

Dues are $45 and include a raised bed with organic soil, mentoring from experts and access to the project’s garden forum.

If you like the concept of gardening more than the actual practice, there’s the Farm4You program—Peterson Garden volunteers do all the work, you get all the produce (hence the garden’s call for volunteers to help weed and water).

While the Peterson Garden Project’s existence is tenuous—if Asian Human Services sells the vacant lot, the garden is kaput—its ultimate mission is to inspire a new generation of gardeners, and to make urban gardening the norm rather than the exception.

In fact, Chicago was once a produce gardening hub, and the location of the Peterson Garden is a throwback to that bygone era.

It’s located on the site of a former WWII Victory Garden, used from 1942 to 1945 to provide fresh and locally grown food during a time of rationing. There were once more than 170,000 of these Victory Gardens around Chicago.


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