Garden Night + Save the Date for Eco Fest

Join us tomorrow evening (Wed. 5/22, 5pm-sunset) for garden stewardship!

Also, the third annual 47th Ward Eco Fest is back on Sat. June 1 from 10am to 2pm in Welles Park! This environmental festival gathers the community to learn about sustainability and celebrate our beautiful planet. The event will bring together small businesses, non-profits, and other vendors from across the city for a day of learning, activities, and fun focused on a sustainable future. See the 47th Ward website for more info.

This Weekend: Garden Stewardship + Plant Sales

Spring has sprung! Spotted blooming lately: shooting stars, wild geranium, and golden alexander (Photo credit: Meredith)

Garden Stewardship

Join us tomorrow morning (Sat. 5/11, 10am-lunchtime) for stewardship at Waters Garden! It will be a pretty low-key day since some of our usual volunteer crew will be celebrating Chicago River Day over at the Riverbank Neighbors site.

Two Plant Sales!

Are you looking for seedlings to fill out your garden this spring? Waters gardeners have shared two opportunities to buy plants this weekend:

Kilbourn Park Greenhouse Plant Sale

Saturday May 11 & Sunday May 12
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The greenhouse will offer more than 150 varieties of organically grown vegetable, herb, edible flower seedlings, and so much more at this 28th annual community-based plant sale. Customers can expect a wide variety of open-pollinated and heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Other highlights include an assortment of herbs, greens, and onions.

More info on their website here.

Quality Home-Grown Seedlings at Great Prices

Backyard at 1834 W Eddy St.
Saturday/Sunday; May 11/12 10:30AM-4PM and May 18/19 11AM-4PM
May extend to weekend 25/26 depending on weather

Tomato plants are $3 and others are $1 – $3 (with a few exceptions)!

Send questions to Gerry: glange2941 [at] aol.com

Tomato
Sun Sugar, Sun Gold, Black Krim, Pink Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Cherokee Green, Gold Medal, Big Rainbow, Emerald Green, Green Giant, Heirloom Brandywine, Honeycomb Hybrid, Roma

Peppers (limited quantities)
Gypsy, Holy Mole, Ancho, Carmen, Orange Picnic, Red Picnic, Fresh Bites

Flowers
Columbine, Mexican Sunflower, Marigold, Zinnias, Sun Flowers, Fall Clematis, Coleus, Cosmos, Butterfly Weed, Lavender Hysop, Gazania

Other Veggies/Herbs
Basil, Parsley, Tuscan Kale, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Fennel

Garden Night + Help with Creeping Charlie

As usual, please join us tomorrow evening (Wed. 5/8, 5pm-sunset) for garden stewardship!

In addition, we could use everyone’s help to tackle a creeping charlie problem! Also known as ground ivy, this aggressive invasive weed is especially easy to identify at the moment because it is currently blooming. It grows as a ground cover, and we’ve especially noticed it showing up in the paths and untended plot areas in the community garden space this spring. A member of the mint family, it smells minty when crushed and features scalloped leaves and small tubular purple flowers. More information and photos available here from the University of Minnesota Extension.

If you spot creeping charlie in an accessible spot while walking or working in the garden, please help us remove it! It is shallow rooted and easy to remove with flat spade, but don’t be discouraged when it grows back because it takes persistence – as with many of the weeds in garden. Please dispose of it in the commercial compost (at the north end of the parking lot) rather than in the garden compost to avoid spreading it further. If you have questions, feel free to ask a more experienced gardener to point you in the right direction!

Celebrate Earth Day 🌎 in the Garden This Weekend

This weekend brings two (!) opportunities to spend time in the garden.

Join us tomorrow (Sat. 4/20, 10am-noon) for our regular garden stewardship day! It will likely be a pretty low-key group as many gardeners have commitments at other Earth Day events around the city and region.

Then on Sunday (4/21), Waters Elementary is hosting a big Earth Day event from 10am-noon! Activities will include a plant ID scavenger hunt, stations to learn about environmental topics around Chicago, guest speakers, and stewardship opportunities. This event is open to the entire community so feel free to invite anyone who you think would be interested!

Guest Speaker Times:

  • 10am: Commissioner Spyropoulos, MWRD
  • 10:20am: Commissioner Degnen, Cook County
  • 10:30am: Lauren Umek, PhD, Chicago Park District
  • 11am: Commissioner Spyropoulos, MWRD
  • 11:20am: Commissioner Degnen, Cook County
  • 11:30am: Lauren Umek, PhD, Chicago Park District

Regular Stewardship Days Are Back!

Join us tomorrow (Sat. 4/13) for garden stewardship! Now that spring has truly sprung, we’re resuming our usual cadence of stewardship days: Wednesday evenings 5pm-sunset and Saturday mornings 10am-lunchtime, weather permitting. Come through to chat with neighbors, do a little work, and check out the spring ephemerals!

An eerie smoky pic from last month’s prescribed burn (Photo credit: Sol)

What We’re Reading

Here are a couple of fun links that the garden stewards have been sharing with each other:

Vote! Then come to the garden for friendship, music, food, and more

Tomorrow (April 10) is our first Wednesday garden night of 2024. It is also election day for the Local School Council. Please vote in this important election, and afterwards come join us in the garden. As usual, from 5pm to dusk, there will be stewardship of the garden and food around the fire, but Wednesday will also see the return of the garden jam. So bring an instrument if you like and join the musicians in the garden, all skill levels welcome!

A garden jam last summer (Photo credit: Jeremy)

Prescribed Burn This Weekend, Weather Permitting

A bluebell (Mertensia virginica) on March 16, 2024—the first bloom of the year in Waters Garden.

Spring is here. The garden is waking, and soon our regular work days will be back. As is our tradition, we will be starting the season with fire. Prescribed burns simulate the wild fires that were part of the natural ecosystem that historically existed in the Chicago area. They were used by Native Americans to maintain open woods for safety, farming, and hunting. Now, they are an essential tool in restoration ecology. Chicago area native plants have evolved to withstand fire, some even requiring periodic fire as part of their life cycle. Many invasive plants are not fire evolved, so prescription burning is a valuable tool in keeping these invaders at bay.

This Sunday, March 24, we plan to conduct a prescribed burn in the garden, weather permitting. We will meet at 12:30 p.m. to prepare and hope to have fire on the ground around 1:30 p.m.

If you have attended a prescribed burn training or you have burned with us in the past, please join us as part of the support crew. All others are welcome to come out and watch, but please remember to keep yourself and any children a safe distance from the fire and the burn crew.

Community Singing at the Garden

Saturday Feb. 3, 1:00–2:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars! All interested gardeners and neighbors are invited to a song circle at the Waters Garden fire pit next Saturday Feb. 3 from 1:00–2:00 p.m. We’ll get together to sing around the fire—led by Megan Eberhardt, who also leads a similar monthly event at the Old Town School—and share hot chocolate. We will pass the hat, and any donations to support Megan’s work as a song leader will be appreciated.