Friday, March 30, 2012

Montrose Green Collaborates to Sponsor First Community Garden in Northcenter

Location of our future community garden!
Montrose Green Collaborates to Sponsor First Community Garden in Northcenter 
Thanks to the incredible efforts of Lisa Hish and Elizabeth Wenscott, the ladies behind Northcenter Neighborhood Association’s environmental group, “The Greening of Northcenter,” Northcenter is proud to announce the coming of it’s first organic, community garden this century thanks to true collaboration:

Funding is provided by an anonymous sponsor and the Northcenter Neighborhood Association 
The site is a fantastic location on Montrose Avenue, provided on a temporary basis by local community developer Harrington Brown, LLC, with additional support from Alderman Pawar.
Further expertise comes by way of the amazing Peterson Garden Project, which specializes in victory gardens for the community.

The Peterson Garden Project will use the currently vacant site at  Montrose Green – 1819 West Montrose Avenue, the future home of a proposed mixed-use commercial and residential building. Our plan is for this to be available for two growing seasons. This will be one of the five gardens hosted by the Peterson Garden Project in 2012.

One hundred and twenty-five plots are anticipated. Twenty will be used as "Grow2Give” beds, with the food donated to the Common Pantry, ten are available for local restaurant use, and the remaining plots are available for individual or family use at a cost of $65/plot per season.

Sign up is open to the public and begins online April 2. Please visit to sign up and learn more about the fascinating history of victory gardens in Chicago.

The Greening of Northcenter Neighborhood:
Parkways, Corners and Gardens Project
"Investing in Our Community, one plant at a time."


The Anthropocene is a recent and informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems. The term was coined by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer but has been widely popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth's atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological era for its lithosphere.

Welcome to the Anthropocene from WelcomeAnthropocene on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pete Leki - People You Should Know

Berteau and the River
Within an urban environment it is possible for neighbors, schools and businesses to create a more integrated wholistic experience of living. Experiences where we the participant get to enacted either our "big ideas or little acts" in order to add depth an meaning to our lives while deepening our relationship with our environment.

This past weekend Pete Leki, teacher, ecologist, environmentalist, land steward, and awesome neighbor invited us to learn, participate or just watch two controlled, perscribed burns.

On Thursday, March 16, Pete gave a  workshop on prescribed, controlled burns of natural areas in preparation for two upcoming burnings in our ward. On Saturday the weather was oddly perfect (85 degrees in March!) dry, low winds which allow Pete and the graduates of the workshop to apply the perscription prairie burn to both the Bill McBride Prairie at the intersection of Berteau and the river, then on Sunday the garden of Waters Elementary School.

Waters Elementary School
It was an incredible weekend and based on the success of the burns we can bet that both green spaces will flourish this spring, summer and fall. Thank you Pete!

If you would like to participate in other exciting events like this, please contact the Riverbank Neighbors at, they can always use YOUR HELP!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The USDA has just released their new Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This is a much-needed update using the 30-year period of 1976-2005 versus the old USDA map which used the period 1974-1986.
One of the outstanding features of the new map is the northward shift of the hardiness zones in Illinois. For example, the boundary between zones 5 and 6 have shifted about 60 miles to the north. Zone 4 has left Illinois in the new map. In addition, the new map shows a lot more detail including the warming effect of the Chicago urban area.
In the second figure, the minimum winter temperature for each year is shown for Champaign-Urbana. The  old USDA plant hardiness zone map used an unusually short period during one of the colder periods in the record (1974-1986). The general trend in the data shows an increase in the minimum winter temperature from the late 1800s to about 1950, followed by a cooling trend to the 1980s, and finishing with a warming trend through 2005. Interestingly, the last few years showed a cooling trend – except for this year when our coldest temperature so far is 4°F.
The other important feature in the second figure is that even if an area changes Zones, there is still a lot of year to year variability in the minimum temperature for winter. For example, while Champaign-Urbana is nearly classified as Zone 6 in the new map, Champaign-Urbana dipped into Zone 4 a few times (-20°F or less) in the last 30 years.  In fact, as a gardener I would say that the period from the 1930s to the early 1970s was more benign and less challenging than the 1980s and 1990s with respect to winter temperatures. Summer conditions would be another story since the 1930s and 1950s were marred by severe droughts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse presents a Gardening Exchange Even

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse presents a
Gardening Exchange Event
Saturday, March 10 from 11-4 pm
Jump start your spring at Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse’s second annual Gardening Exchange Event. Bring your friends and connect with your neighbors at this community event and fundraiser.
You will have the opportunity to take basic organic gardening classes and find gently used gardening and cooking tools at bargain prices. All proceeds will support Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse’s programs that connect kids to nature and healthy foods. Purchases can be made with cash and checks, no credit cards will be accepted.

Free Gardening Demonstrations
Worm Composting, Winter Sowing, Lawn to Lake Water Model Demonstration, High Tunnel Construction, Soil Block Demonstration

Let’s Start Growing Workshops 1-4 pm
$20 for series(cash only, register on site)
Grow Veggies Grow
Seneca Kern, We Farm America
Want to get started growing your own fresh organic produce here in the city, but don't know where to begin? WeFarm America will provide the basic tools and resources to get you started safely and confidently outdoors or indoors, backyard, porch or balcony.

Crop Diversity In Gardens
Dave Snyder, Uncommon Grounds Rooftop Gardener
Across the world, there has been a dramatic decrease in crop varieties available, but home gardeners can make a difference. This workshop provides a brief overview of the crisis and uses it as a framework for ways of planning your home or community garden plot.

Landscaping with Native Plants
Rebecca Schillo, Ecologist
3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Native plants are well-adapted to our region's soils and climate making them a lower-maintenance, more environmentally-friendly choice than many of their ornamental counterparts. Native plants can also provide crucial habitat for our birds, butterflies, and pollinators. Come discover more about the complex interactions between native plants and insects and the difference between planting an ornamental species like butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) and a native species like butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Kirsten Akre Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse 3501 N. Kilbourn Chicago, IL 60641 greenhouse: tel:773-685-3359 LIKE us on Facebook for Program Information