A curated list of useful resources and information.

Climate Information
State Climatologist Office for Illinois
Comprehensive resource for up-to-date climate information in Illinois, including frost maps and dates.

Community Gardening
American Community Gardening Association (ACGA)
Member organization dedicated to building community gardens and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada.

Connecting Chicago Community Gardens (CCCG)
Online forum for Chicago-based community gardeners to network and share information.

Food Pantries & Donations
Greater Chicago Food Depository
“Agency Locator” tool lists food pantries in Cook County, searchable by zip code.

Food Preservation
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Gives current research-based information on all methods of home food preservation.

Intensive Gardening
All-New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Cool Springs Press, 2005. 
Seminal book on “square foot” gardening, with in-depth information on raised beds and intensive growing techniques.

Kitchen Garden Planner” by Gardener’s Supply Company
Online tool to help organize garden layout. Determines how many veggies to plant per square foot, plus generates illustrations and growing instructions.

Local Food
Local Harvest
Lists farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food, organized by region.

Slow Food Chicago
Hosts events promoting sustainable food producers and purveyors in the Chicago area. Also lists farmers markets and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms.

Pest & Disease Management
“Common Problems for Vegetable Crops” by University of Illinois Extension
Lists full array of common insects and diseases. Includes detailed descriptions and photos for easy diagnosis, plus tips for management.

Seed Sources
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Bounty Beyond Belief

Botanical Interests

Hudson Valley Seed Library

Renee’s Garden

Seed Savers Exchange

Territorial Seeds

Home Garden Seed Association
Member organization committed to promoting gardening from seed. Provides seasonal information for home gardeners, as well as seed catalog listings.

Books We Recommend

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler. Timber Press, 2011.

Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson. Gibbs-Smith, 2009.

Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food by Jean Ann Van Krevelen. Cool Springs Press, 2010.

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail. Clarkson Potter, 2010.

Vertical Vegetables and Fruit: Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces by Rhonda Massingham Hart. Storey Publishing, 2011.

Your Farm in the City: An Urban-Dweller’s Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals by Lisa Taylor and the Gardeners of Seattle Tilth. Black Dog & Leventhal, 2011.

Our Favorite Magazines
Edible Chicago

Organic Gardening

Mother Earth News

Urban Farm