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A Reduced Pressure Zone valve, attached to hydrant, is designed to prevent backflow, but it also prevented many gardeners from accessing water this growing season. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Community gardens and urban farms were left scrambling to comply with a new city policy related to hydrant access that left some without water throughout the entire 2020 growing season. 

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Thompson Strawberry Farm has been around for 70 years, but this is the first year it is decorated with sunflowers. (Courtesy Scott Thompson)

Everyone could use a little sunshine in their life right now, so a Wisconsin farmer decided that’s what he was going to do, and planted more than 2 million sunflowers in his fields.

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“Pete’s Pollinator Place,” a 2019 garden award winner. (Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards / Peter Gizyn)

The Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards has shifted to a video format for 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Submissions are open through Sept. 30, so get those cameras rolling.

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2019 front garden runner-up. (Chicago Bungalow Association)

Voting is open through Wednesday for the annual Chicago Bungalow Association’s garden contest.

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Do these look like weeds? Native plants can create a beautiful landscape that's more eco-friendly than grass. (Ron Frazier / Flickr)

People have been spending a lot of time in their yards, and it seems that’s led to plenty of folks jumping on the native plant bandwagon, if a sold-out series of webinars is any indication.

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Dandelions are an important food source for pollinators, especially in the spring. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The dandelion — a once-prized plant that gardeners used to exhibit at county fairs — now holds the title of Public Lawn Enemy No. 1. But is this reputation deserved?

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Star Farm in Back of the Yards makes up for in ambition what it lacks in size. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Star Farm in Back of the Yards makes up for in ambition what it lacks in size. Founder Stephanie Dunn’s mission is to use urban agriculture as the means of creating a healthier, more resilient community. 

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Urban Growers Collective co-founder Erika Allen, right, and staff sort through seeds inside the geodesic dome at the nonprofit’s South Chicago farm. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The nonprofit Urban Growers Collective operates community farms on Chicago’s South Side, providing fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods with few to no nutritional food options.

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Vegetable gardening looks to be the next homebound hobby. (Patty Wetli / WTTW)

Garden centers are juggling an anticipated increase in demand with social distancing concerns. Now, many are offering online ordering, no-contact delivery and curbside pickup as options.

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Spring is coming through with signs of life and hope. (Patty Wetli / WTTW)

Snowdrop, crocus, hyacinth and other early spring bloomers are cheering up the gloomy landscape.

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(Jo ana Kubiak / Lurie Garden)

Lurie Garden's four-season approach to plantings provides a prime example of the beauty and life to be found in a winter garden.

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With winter right around the corner, home gardeners should harvest whatever fruit and vegetables that remain in their garden as soon as possible. Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan shares tips to get your garden ready for the cold season. 

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Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan and chef Nicole Putzel show us what’s possible (and delicious) for local gardeners – even if you don’t have much space.

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(U.S. Department of Agriculture)

As urban agriculture programs expand in Chicago and other cities, a new project aims to unearth data on one of the biggest potential obstacles to city-based farming efforts: soil contamination.

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The First Nations Garden in Albany Park was created by the American Indian Center and the Chi-Nations Youth Council in partnership with the city of Chicago. “It’s become a beacon for native people,” said 17-year-old Adrien Pochel.

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Jeanne Nolan shows us how to harvest red onions, garlic, scallions and edible weeds from our organic garden at WTTW.

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