Gerber's Garden, April 2020
Happy Earth Day!
Our newest initiative has been the development of a Sustainability Garden at Gerber's Garden, funded through a Neighborhood Enhancement Grant from the South East Chicago Commission. Last Fall, students, volunteers, and community members collaborated to plant a strip of native perennials and pollinator attractors and to construct four take-at-will vegetable gardens for anybody passing the garden.
Our learning garden beds last Fall, augmented by hanging flowers to spruce up the space and attract pollinators.
Volunteers working to transplant native plants in the garden during one of our Sustainability Garden work days.
Krystal Scott, 8th grade, constructed this raised bed, which has been planted with root vegetables for the summer.
Ready to Harvest
Chives are a perennial herb that overwinter in Chicago well. We already have a hefty batch ready for trimming.
Oregano is a perennial herb that spreads quickly through gardens. It's a wonderful flavoring in recipes.
Our kale lasted through the winter, and with a little clean-up of the brown leaves, it's back in business.
From Seed to Harvest
- Garlic: Planted by students in garden club, our garlic is now sprouting and will be ready to harvest in June or July. Before the garlic bulb is ready, a long green curled leaf will develop. Called a garlic scape, this is a delicious fresh form of garlic. We will then dry the bulbs so they can be used in the Fall.
- Radishes: Fast growers, radishes should be ready in May.
- Peas: Pea shoots make tasty snacks, salads, and stir frys.
- Lettuce: Baby leaf lettuce tolerates cool soil.
- Spinach: Giant spinach prefers cool soil, perfect for Spring.
- Beets, Turnips, and Carrots: We have planted beets and other root vegetables in both the school beds and the take-at-will community beds next to the sidewalk.
- Annual Herbs: Basil is ready to transplant. We are going to plant cilantro from seed.
Get Involved and Get Produce
Take produce home
Get a Plot for your Family
Support Summer Garden Work
While taking a walk with Ms. Black, Bella found a stray carrot that had made it through the winter! You too can come and take vegetables and herbs home. #BeLikeBella
Fun for Earth Day and beyond
- Try some garden-fresh recipes from our partner organization, Big Green.
- Help NASA save the world's oceans by playing this video game. We may not be near an ocean, but coral is like the ocean's garden.
- Try your hand at seed germination with this activity with any seeds that you have at home. Send us pictures with your results!
- Investigate the interactions between humans and our environments with Ecosystem Explorer.
- Play Cornucopia, an agriculture simulator for the video game lovers out there.
- Check out this calendar of live-streamed garden and nature events.
Seed of Knowledge: Germination
The word root germ- refers to "seed" and derives from Latin. That means that when we talk about germs and washing them off our hands, we're talking about how we need to remove the tiny living things (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that can spread diseases. They're like the "seeds" of infectious disease.
Big Green is a wonderful organization that has supported our learning garden for the past several years. They have created a series of resources for doing garden and food learning at home. Check out Big Green at Home for fun activities and ideas!