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How to Grow a Bountiful Garden in Chicago

Are you interested in eating from your very own garden? With our gardening tips, you can! Growing a bountiful garden in Chicago is easy when you know what you’re doing. Growing a successful garden will vary depending on your goals. Certain plants might have different needs. The amount of sunlight your garden gets, soil nutrients, and surrounding plants can all impact the success of your garden. 

Chicagoland Gardening

Regardless of your gardening goals, your environment plays a huge part in how you garden. In Chicago, the ecosystem affects what plants will do well and which ones won’t. Usually, native plants will do best in Chicago’s climate. Native plants are found naturally in the area. They’re very well suited to the environment since it is their home after all. Occasionally, non-native plants will also thrive in local conditions. Sometimes, these plants are too successful, outcompeting other plants. These plants are considered invasive. They’re able to produce a lot of offspring that take away resources from native plants. Over time, this can have a huge impact on the ecosystem. Many invasive plants are considered weeds. 

Chicago has some pretty extreme weather. In the winter, it can reach all the way into the negatives, with an average of -20°F or -10°F. Chicago’s summers are vastly different, averaging highs around 85°F. This means that plants in Chicago gardens need to be able to survive in both cold winters and hot summers. 

Winter can be especially harsh on plants. The USDA has even created a system to label areas of the country based on how severe their winters are. This scale is used to decide what plants are hardy enough to survive in certain areas. On the USDA’s hardiness zone map, Chicago falls in zone 5. Some parts of Illinois are considered to be in zone 6. Plants in zone 5’s climate should be fairly hardy to survive temperatures of -20°F.

Rain is another factor to consider when deciding what to plant in your Chicago garden. Chicago receives around 38 inches of rainfall each year. This is actually about the average amount of rainfall for the United States. Since Chicago has an average amount of rainfall, most plants should be fine. Some plants that are used to dryer climates might have a hard time if they get too much rain. However, desert plants can survive in wetter areas if they have adequate drainage. Rock installations like gravel mulch can be a great way to ensure your plants have proper drainage. 

Garden Vegetables

Growing your own vegetables is a very rewarding process. You get to watch as your plant grows and develops. You get to enjoy the benefits of your hard work when you finally dig into that tomato or squash you spent so long growing. Overall, it’s a great experience as well as a fun, relaxing hobby. 

There are many benefits to growing your own vegetables. Gardening is a relaxing hobby that naturally relieves stress. It’s also a fairly active hobby. While it is relaxing, it still requires physical activity. Gardening can be a great source of exercise while spending time outdoors. Gardening is a big part of landscaping. It affects the overall appearance of your home. It can even affect your property value

Growing your own vegetables is a great way to ensure you’re eating healthy. Fruits and vegetables are important, necessary parts of every diet. Getting your daily vegetables is a lot easier when they’re right in your backyard! Growing food at home also helps you save money on groceries. Plants and seeds are much cheaper than constantly buying vegetables from the grocery store. Most importantly, gardening is a very rewarding hobby. After putting in work gardening, you’re able to enjoy the (literal) fruits of your labor.

Small Vegetable Garden

Maintaining a vegetable garden in Chicago is pretty straightforward when you know what to plant. Radishes, lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes are just some of the many plants that thrive in Chicago’s weather. Obviously, the way you plant these vegetables impacts their success. Tomatoes, peppers, and beans all perform better when planted in warmer weather. Planting these plants around April or May helps ensure a bountiful harvest. For hardier plants, you can start as early as March. 

Understanding the quality of your soil can help your garden immensely. Know the signs of a dry garden. Wilting or yellowing plants often mean that your soil is too dry. Similarly, you shouldn’t over-water your plants either. Make sure you research how often to water the plants you choose to place in your garden. 

 Consider the amount of sunlight your plants will receive. This will vary some from residence to residence, depending on surrounding tree coverage. It can also depend on where you choose to plant your garden. Plants should get plenty of sunlight to support their growth. 

Many first-time gardeners fail to consider the importance of how they plant their vegetables. If you’re planting directly into the ground, you don’t have too much to worry about. However, if you’re planting vegetables into pots or containers, be careful. Some containers for plants are made from materials that are harmful to plants. Many don’t have proper drainage holes. Without the right drainage holes, soil can become oversaturated. Ironically, overwatering causes similar problems to underwatering. 

Similarly, knowing when to pick your vegetables is important. You don’t want to eat anything that isn’t ripe yet. You also don’t want to forget to pick your vegetables and end up attracting pests. Pay attention when your vegetables are ripe so you don’t waste any of your harvests. 

Lastly, the most important part of starting a vegetable garden is being prepared. This includes reading up on the vegetables you plan on growing. Learn how much light, water, and attention they need. Will your plant thrive alongside other plants, or does it require plenty of room? These are all very important things to consider when gardening. Vegetable gardens are great for expert gardeners and beginners alike. For larger landscaping projects, contact the landscape artists at Arbeen Landscaping. Some projects need to be done by professionals. Whether you’re looking for commercial or residential landscaping, Arbeen has the expertise to bring any lawn or garden to life. 

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