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Ginkgo Organic Gardens

Ginkgo Organic Gardens Ginkgo Organic Gardens is a community garden dedicated to growing fresh produce for low-income and homeless people in the Uptown area of Chicago.

Ginkgo Organic Gardens is a community garden growing fresh produce for low-income and homeless people in the Uptown area of Chicago. Using organic methods, we grow about 1,500 pounds of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers each year and donate them to local food banks.

Ginkgo Organic Gardens is a community garden growing fresh produce for low-income and homeless people in the Uptown area of Chicago. Using organic methods, we grow about 1,500 pounds of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers each year and donate them to local food banks.

Operating as usual

03/06/2022

WHY DO WE CALL THEM WEEDS, WHEN THEY ARE SO HEALTHY?

Did you know that some weeds we are always worried about in our yards and Gardens are actually good for you, and can be delicious if prepared properly? Be sure to identify the weeds correctly (The ones described here are easy to spot.) Avoid harvesting from anyplace you suspect pollution — such as from vehicle exhaust, lawn pesticide or doggy business. And remember that edible does not mean allergen-free. Here are 9 good ones:

DANDELION
Dandelion is one of the healthiest and most versatile vegetables on the planet. The entire plant is edible. The leaves are like vitamin pills, containing generous amounts of vitamins A, C and K — far more than those garden tomatoes, in fact — along with calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.

The leaves are most tender, and tastiest, when they are young. This happens in the spring but also all summer along as the plant tries to rebound after being cut or pulled. You can add them to soup in great abundance. Or you can prepare them Italian style by sautéing with a little olive oil, salt, garlic and some hot red pepper.

You can eat the bright, open flower heads in a lightly fried batter. You can also make a simple wine with the flowers by fermenting them with raisins and yeast. If you are slightly adventurous, you can roast the dandelion root, grind it, and brew it like coffee. It's an acquired taste. You might want to have some sugar on hand.

PURSLANE
If you've ever lived in the city, you have seen good ol' Portulaca olearacea, or common purslane. The stuff grows in cracks in the sidewalk. Aside from being surprisingly tasty for a crack dweller, purslane tops the list of plants with omega-3 fatty acids, the type of healthy fat found in salmon.
If you dislike the bitter taste of dandelion greens, you still might like the lemony taste of purslane. The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible; and they can be eaten raw on salads — as they are prepared worldwide — or lightly sautéed.

You should keep a few things in mind, though, before your harvest. Watch out for spurge, a similar-looking sidewalk-crack dweller. Spurge is much thinner than purslane, and it contains a milky sap, so you can easily differentiate it. Also, your mother might have warned you about eating things off the sidewalk; so instead, look for purslane growing in your garden, or consider transplanting it to your garden from a sidewalk.

Also, note the some folks incorrectly call purslane "pigweed," but that's a different weed — edible but not as tasty.

LAMB'S QUARTERS
Lamb's-quarters are like spinach, except they are healthier, tastier and easier to grow. Lamb's-quarters, also called goosefoot, usually need more than a sidewalk crack to grow in, unlike dandelion or purslane. Nevertheless, they can be found throughout the urban landscape, wherever there is a little dirt.

The best part of the lamb's-quarters are the leaves, which are slightly velvety with a fine white powder on their undersides. Discard any dead or diseased leaves, which are usually the older ones on the bottom of the plant. The leaves and younger stems can be quickly boiled or sautéed, and they taste like a cross between spinach and Swiss chard with a slight nutty after-taste.

Maybe that taste combination doesn't appeal to you, but lamb's-quarters are ridiculously healthy. A one-cup serving will give you 10 times the daily-recommended dose of vitamin K; three times the vitamin A; more than enough vitamin C; and half your daily dose of calcium and magnesium.

PLANTAIN
Plantain, like dandelion, is a healthy, hardy weed as ubiquitous in the city as broken glass. You know what it looks like, but you might not have known the name.
Part of the confusion is that plantain shares its name with something utterly different, the banana-like plantain, whose etymology is a mix of Spanish and native Caribbean. The so-called weed plantain, or Plantago major, was cultivated in pre-Columbus Europe; and indeed Native Americans called it "the white man's footprint," because it seemed to follow European settlers.

Plantain has a nutritional profile similar to dandelion — that is, loaded with iron and other important vitamins and minerals. The leaves are tastiest when small and tender, usually in the spring but whenever new shoots appear after being cut back by a lawnmower. Bigger leaves are edible but bitter and fibrous.

The shoots of the broadleaf plantain, when green and tender and no longer than about four inches, can be described as a poor-man's fiddlehead, with a nutty, asparagus-like taste. Pan-fry in olive oil for just a few seconds to bring out this taste. The longer, browner shoots are also tasty prepared the same way, but the inner stem is too fibrous. You'll need to place the shoot in your mouth, clench with your teeth, and quickly pull out the stem. What you're eating are the plantain seeds.

The leaves of the equally ubiquitous narrow-leaf plantain, or Plantago lanceolata, also are edible when young. The shoot is "edible" only with quotation marks. You can eat the seeds should you have the patience to collect hundreds of plants for the handful of seeds you'd harvest. With time being money, it's likely not worth it.

CHICKWEED
One of the not-so-ugly weeds worth pulling and keeping is chickweed. Identified by purple stems, fuzzy green leaves, and starry white flower petals, this weed is a fantastic source of vitamins A, D, B complex, and C. It also contains minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. Chickweed (Stellaria media) has a cornsilk-like flavor when eaten raw, and tastes similar to spinach when it is cooked. [1]

Chickweed nourishes the lymph and glandular systems, and can heal cysts, fevers, and inflammation. It can help neutralize acid and help with yeast overgrowth and fatty deposits, too.
Additionally, chickweed can be finely chopped and applied externally to irritated skin. Steep the plant in ¼ cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, and chickweed provides benefits similar to dandelion root. Speaking of dandelion…

CLOVER
Other than the occasional four-leafed clover hunt, this common lawn weed goes mostly unnoticed, even though it is becoming popular as a lawn replacement altogether. Clover is an important food for honeybees and bumblebees, and clover leaves and flowers can be used to add variety to human meals as well. Small amounts of raw clover leaves can be chopped into salads, or can be sauteed and added to dishes for a green accent, and the flowers of both red and white clover can be eaten raw or cooked, or dried for tea.

MALLOW
Mallow, or malva, is also known as cheeseweed, due to the shape of its seed pods, and can be found in many lawns or garden beds across the US. The leaves and the seed pods (also called the 'fruit') are both edible, either raw or cooked, and like many greens, are often more tender and palatable when smaller and less mature. The older leaves can be used like any other cooked green after steaming, boiling, or sauteing them.

WILD AMARANTH
The leaves of the wild amaranth, also known as pigweed, are another great addition to any dish that calls for leafy greens, and while the younger leaves are softer and tastier, the older leaves can also be cooked like spinach. The seeds of the wild amaranth can be gathered and cooked just like store-bought amaranth, either as a cooked whole grain or as a ground meal, and while it does take a bit of time to gather enough to add to a meal, they can be a a good source of free protein.

STINGING NETTLES
It sounds like a cruel joke, but stinging nettles — should you be able to handle them without getting a painful rash from the tiny, acid-filled needles — are delicious cooked or prepared as a tea.

You may have brushed by these in the woods or even in your garden, not knowing what hit you, having been trained all your life to identify poison ivy and nothing else. The tiny needles fortunately fall off when steamed or boiled. The trick is merely using garden gloves to get the nettles into a bag.

Nettles tastes a little like spinach, only more flavorful and more healthful. They are loaded with essential minerals you won't find together outside a multivitamin bottle, and these include iodine, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, silica and sulfur. Nettles also have more protein than most plants.

You can eat the leaves and then drink the water as tea, with or without sugar, hot or cold. If you are adventurous — or, you can collect entire plants to dry in your basement. The needles will eventually fall off, and you can save the dried leaves for tea all winter long. Info by Christopher Wanjek

Please visit our THE SEED GUY website when you get the chance. We have 9 Heirloom Seed Packages on Sale Now, Non GMO, still hand counted and packaged, like the old days, so you get the best germination, and fresh from the New 2021 Harvest https://theseedguy.net/15-seed-packages

You can also Call Us 7 days a week, and up to 10:00 pm each night, at 918-352-8800 if you would like to Order By Phone.

If you LIKE US on our page, you will be on our list for more great Gardening Articles, new Heirloom Seed Offers, and healthy Juice Recipes https://www.facebook.com/theseedguy Thank you, and God Bless You and Your Family.

It's bigger than ever!
03/01/2022

It's bigger than ever!

We have scholarships available for the conference! Visit the conference page at chicagocommunitygardens.org for more info!

This joke never gets old! The magic of brassicas means that all these vegetables are actually the same species!
03/01/2022

This joke never gets old! The magic of brassicas means that all these vegetables are actually the same species!

Floral crowns are always a good thing! An ageless sign of peace and love in defiance of war and intimidation!
02/26/2022
Ukrainian Women Bring Back Traditional Floral Crowns To Show National Pride | DeMilked

Floral crowns are always a good thing! An ageless sign of peace and love in defiance of war and intimidation!

A Slavic workshop of stylists and photographers called Treti Pivni have decided to bring back one of the more amazing Ukranian traditions by giving it a new meaning. They've produced a portrait series of modern Ukranian women dressed in traditional Ukranian floral headdresses.

Let's try it!
02/25/2022
Japanese farmers using hammers to grow more mushrooms

Let's try it!

In Japan, there’s an image of elegance, some might even say nobility, associated with farming. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to go all that far back in Japan’s history to find a time when the country was still overwhelmingly agrarian, or perhaps it’s a carryover from Shinto beliefs abo...

We don't know why this would be invented.  Tomatoes always were a superfood. We already have plenty of delicious heirloo...
02/24/2022
Purple 'superfood' tomato could finally go on sale in the US

We don't know why this would be invented. Tomatoes always were a superfood. We already have plenty of delicious heirloom tomato varieties this color- even tomatoes that are nearly black. Tell corporations to leave our plant genes alone.

😂
02/20/2022

😂

This is not how people or strawberries were meant to live!
02/15/2022

This is not how people or strawberries were meant to live!

Cristian shared the strawberry harvest in Saticoy CA. He pushes his wheeled cart in between two long rows picking the large ripe berries on the right side then changing to the left side. He is bent over for up to 8 hours a day. #WeFeedYou
Cristian compartió la cosecha de fresas en Saticoy CA. Empuja su carrito con ruedas entre dos surcos largos, pizcando las bayas grandes y maduras del lado derecho y luego cambiando al lado izquierdo. Está agachado hasta 8 horas al día. #SoyEsencial

Whenever I complain about all the trees we have to prune at Ginkgo, let’s remember the farm workers with these endless r...
02/12/2022

Whenever I complain about all the trees we have to prune at Ginkgo, let’s remember the farm workers with these endless rows to trim. So much work!

Nora told us that the day she took this picture, she felt the urge to cry seeing no end in sight for her grape vine pruning work. By the end of her day, Nora pruned 110 grape vines. #WeFeedYou

Nora nos contó que el día que tomó esta foto sintió ganas de llorar al no verle fin a su trabajo de poda de vides. Al final de su día, Nora podó 110 vides de uva. #SoyEsencial

Bare dirt all around- this is not a healthy way of growing our vegetables. It’s bad for the land and water, and exploits...
02/12/2022

Bare dirt all around- this is not a healthy way of growing our vegetables. It’s bad for the land and water, and exploits the workers who prep the soil for mechanization. Later they will be adding fertilizer and chemicals to force the plants to grow in this unnatural state

Javier labors 6 days a week, 9 hours a day. He's currently laying down irrigation pipes, preparing the field for planting lettuce and broccoli. He shares, "We work all year long in the cold, heat and rain so that crops are ready and vegetables arrive at your table." #WeFeedYou

Javier trabaja 6 días a la semana, 9 horas al día. Actualmente está colocando tuberías de riego, preparando el campo para sembrar lechuga y brócoli. Él comparte: "Trabajamos todo el año en el frío, el calor y la lluvia para que los cultivos estén listos y las verduras lleguen a su mesa". #SoyEsencial

*wish* more delicious fruit trees please!!
02/11/2022

*wish* more delicious fruit trees please!!

It's way past time for dangerous pesticides to be banned! 2,4-D, a cheap and nasty weedkiller, and likely carcinogen, wa...
02/10/2022
One in three Americans have detectable levels of toxic weedkiller, study finds

It's way past time for dangerous pesticides to be banned! 2,4-D, a cheap and nasty weedkiller, and likely carcinogen, was one of the components of Agent Orange. It's having new popularity now that cancer-causing Roundup has become less effective and less available. Growing numbers of us are carrying 2,4-D contamination. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/09/toxic-herbicide-exposure-study-2-4-d

Human exposure to 2,4-D has substantially risen despite a multitude of health and environmental concerns

Celebrating that Adrian (AJ) Pochel one of the founders of the awesome First Nations Garden, has been named a Champion f...
02/09/2022

Celebrating that Adrian (AJ) Pochel one of the founders of the awesome First Nations Garden, has been named a Champion for Change!

Feb 10 is World Pulses Day! Celebrate all that is lentils and beans!https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/40164383379...
02/08/2022
Slow Food Live: Powerful Beans: Plant a Seed on World Pulses Day

Feb 10 is World Pulses Day! Celebrate all that is lentils and beans!

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4016438337936/WN_vuN5xACnSDuC0DElRxsYzw

Ofreceremos interpretación en español en la sala Zoom para este evento. Spanish language interpretation will be offered for this event in the Zoom room. Join Slow Food USA and FAO in North America in celebrating legumes, beans and pulses on World Pulses Day (February 10). We'll be discussing how t...

Check out this amazing project highlighting Chicago's women leaders!  Good friend Lori Cannon, founder of our partner pa...
02/01/2022

Check out this amazing project highlighting Chicago's women leaders! Good friend Lori Cannon, founder of our partner pantry Groceryland food pantry, is highlighted!

It's time to start ordering seeds for spring planting. Keep the planet and small business in mind!
02/01/2022
Tips on buying seeds and planning for the upcoming growing season

It's time to start ordering seeds for spring planting. Keep the planet and small business in mind!

Venice Williams from Alice’s Garden, is a regular contributors for our monthly series Dig In! This month she shares some tips on buying seeds and planning for the upcoming growing season.

The Seed Library is coming!!
01/30/2022

The Seed Library is coming!!

Hi seed community! We are excited to be sharing seeds with you all again this season. Here is some information about how to get seeds from us this coming month. Please note that if you have a specific crop variety you are looking for, you are more likely to get it if you come in during our open hours. When we fill online orders we are only able to fill general crop requests (not crop varieties). Also note, we will have much less inventory available in March after we ship orders. Please reach out with any questions!

How to decide? THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
01/22/2022

How to decide? THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

Bush beans or pole beans?

Personally I prefer bush beans, but that’s because they grow and produce a bit faster, don’t need support, and I can grow a few more kinds than I can with pole beans. However, I definitely do enjoy a good poll bean. I just grow mostly bush variety.

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4055 N Kenmore Ave
Chicago, IL
60613

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Wednesday 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Saturday 9:30am - 12:30pm

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Donations are needed for a new Seed Library being established at the Uptown Branch Library in cooperation with Ginkgo Organic Gardens. Harvest seeds from your plants this fall, put as many or as few seeds as you see fit in an envelope labeled with the name of the plant, and bring them to the library. Next spring, library patrons can "borrow" seeds from this library and continue the cycle. Seeding is fundamental! 🌱
April 11th will be the first day of planting and clean up at Ginkgo Organic Gardens! See below for details on how you can get involved.
This holiday season please consider donating to Ginkgo Organic Gardens right here in Buena Park. They are fundraising to replace their worn-out composters and raised beds. Click the link below for details.
John and Ivy led the regular Saturday work day at Ginkgo Organic Gardens.
These guys were my compost heroes today. We are so lucky to have so many hardworking great volunteers like these. #domoregood #urbangarden #growingfood
Starting this Weds join Ginkgo at 6:30PM each week for some meditative w**ding and watering as we listen to birds and watch the sunset!