Starting a Garden

Did you receive a Grow Kit?​ Check out our Grow Kit Support page with a helpful video. Did you receive a Home Garden? Visit the Home Garden resource page. Benefits Include: Cost Savings Movement Mental Health & Wellbeing Beautification Community Self Resilience | Table of Contents Home Gardening Considerations Why Garden at Home Where Do You Live It can be helpful to understand how well plants grow in the area you live. The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. *please note that these zones change as our climate changes, so be mindful that this may no longer be exactly accurate* 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Monthly Garden Schedule By Zone Find Your Zone   Nutrient Density We recommend growing the most nutrient dense foods that you can including (in order from most nutrient dense to less nutrient dense – all have LOTS of nutrients though): Watercress, Chinese cabbage, Chard, Beet green, Spinach, Leaf lettuce, Parsley, Romaine lettuce, Collard greens, Turnip greens, Mustard greens, Endive, Chives, and Kale  Plant Spacing PLANT SPACING WHEN PLANTING Think of plant spacing as a circle around your plant. From where your plant is planted in all directions, nothing should be within its spacing zone. One way to visualize plant spacing is to use a ruler and string. Visualizing plant spacing activity Materials Ruler String Scissors Instructions Reference the plant spacing table below and find your plant. Don’t see your plant – feel free to look up plant spacing information for your plant online. Once you know how much space your plant needs, measure a piece of string that length Hold the piece of string in one hand next to the stem of your plant Pull the string tight – you will be able to see how much space your plant needs. Remember that  it needs this much space on all sides. Plant Spacing for Grow Bags and Containers Plant Spacing   Plant Spacing   Plant Spacing Arugula 3-4 inches   Collard Greens 5-7 inches   Pepper, hot 1 plant per container Bush Beans 2-3 inches   Cucumber 14-18 inches   Pepper, sweet 1 plant per container Pole Beans 2-4 inches   Eggplant 1 plant/  container   Radish 1 plant per container Beets  2-3 inches   Kale 10-15 inches   Squash 1 plant per container Broccoli 12-18 inches   Lettuce 4-6 inches   Tomato 1 plant per container Carrots 2-3 inches   Green onion 2-3 inches   Tomato, cherry 1 plant per container Cabbage 12-18 inches   Peas 3-4 inches   Turnip 2-3 inches Swiss Chard 4-6 inches         Zucchini 1 plant per container                 Succession Planting Succession planting is a way to harvest more fruits, vegetables, and herbs by planting different plants based on the date when they are ready to harvest. There are several ways to succession plant. Option 1: Same vegetable planted at different times Many vegetables produce less that we can harvest after their initial production. For example, lettuce will produce fewer new leaves after it produces its first larger leaves that we harvest.  To use this method, plant the same vegetable every 2-4 weeks during the time in the season when it can grow.  Option 2: Different vegetables planted one right after the other This option is based on the idea that some plants have very short life spans. Once they move through their life cycle you can remove them and replace them with another plant. For this method, pick a plant with a short growing season. Once it completes its life cycle replace it with a later season plant. Option 3: Same vegetable, different maturity rates Each type of vegetable has different varieties (types). The types may look slightly different and often take different lengths of time before they are ready to harvest. This method will allow you to eat different varieties of the same vegetable for a longer period of time.   For this method, pick different varieties of one crop (i.e. carrots) and plant them together.   Option 4: Paired vegetables in the same spot  This option is based on the idea that certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs grow during different times in the growing season. For this method, plant a spring crop first and a summer crop right after or a summer crop first and a fall crop right after.  Source:  Types of Gardens The size of your space and your budget will determine how much food you can grow and which way to grow makes the most sense. Container Container gardens, including grow bags like those in your Grow Your Groceries kit, are one way to grow food.  Just a few bags or containers can yield a nice amount of food Containers must be food grade (i.e. restaurant buckets, grow bags) or you could ingest plastic unknowingly Can be moved as needed  If you rotate crops, you can grow a variety of fruit, vegetables, and herbs in just a few containers Raised Beds Raised beds are another way to grow your own food. While they might allow you more space to grow, they require more space and cannot easily be moved Raised beds are more expensive to set up In Ground In ground gardens are one other way to grow your own food In ground gardens may allow you more space to grow but cannot be moved In Chicago and the surrounding areas, soil is often contaminated so you must get a soil test before your grow in-ground or you could be exposed to toxins  Soil Testing Resources Organization Address Phone number Cost for home gardeners Stat Analysis Corporation 2242 W, Harrison, Suite 200 Chicago IL 60612 (312) 733-0551 $60.00 A&L Great Lakes Laboratory 3505 Conestoga Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808 (260) 483-4759 Depends on type of tests. See costs here. The table

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