Community Garden

The 2012 growing season has officially begun.  Thank you to everyone who came out to work in the garden at Monticello and Milwaukee on Saturday, March 31.  We are pleased to welcome Greg Mucci to our gardening group.  Greg studied agriculture, and before moving to Chicago he farmed in southern Illinois.

Here are some of Greg’s soil tips we learned at our garden kickoff:

1. Test your soil.  There are some inexpensive do it yourself soil tests out there, but your best bet is to contact the University of Illinois Agricultural Extension Center.  For around $25 they will provide a soil analysis to help you understand what your soil needs.

2. Are you getting a lot of green growth but not a lot of flowers or vegetables?  You probably have too much nitrogen in your soil.  You’ll want to add some Potash to your soil.

3. After testing your soil, if you see that you are low in nitrogen, planting clover or alfalfa is an organic way to replenish Nitrogen to your soil.

4. Is you soil high in alkaline?  Mix in some distilled vinegar when watering.  Be sure to put the vinegar water directly into the soil and not on your plants—otherwise it will burn the plant.

5. If your soil is acidic, you can add limestone.  You can purchase a mix at a gardening center, or you can simply mix in a little gravel and get the same results for less money.

6. Before you buy that bag of organic miracle grow, check to see what nutrients you will be adding to the soil.  A nitrogen-rich soil does not need more nitrogen added to it.

If you would like to be involved with the community garden, contact Jennifer at kevinandjennifer.kelly@gmail.com.

Be sure to check out the Mindful Living Garden in Avondale.  This garden began in 2009 and has transformed an empty space into an exciting program.  Last summer they even added a chicken coup.   Volunteers are welcome, and Avondale neighbors with little ones should take a look at their summer gardening classes for kids.

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