Chicago Botanic Garden

Education

Windy City Harvest

Workshops in Sustainable Vegetable Production

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Windy City Harvest workshops are perfect for the small-scale sustainable farmer. Whether it is your backyard, community garden plot, apartment, porch, rooftop or school garden, these workshops will help you get the most production out of your small space, using sustainable techniques. Classes are open to the general public. Workshops have a maximum registration of 15 students. Contact Kelly Larsen with additional questions at .

2014 Schedule

Home-Scale Aquaponics
January 18, April 12, or September 13
Saturday
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Arturo Velasquez Institute Greenhouse
Andy McGhee, Windy City Harvest aquaponic specialist
$39

Learn how you can raise fish and vegetable crops together in a symbiotic relationship. With an established aquaponics system as a guide, you will discover how it all works: system components and functions, daily and weekly production flow tasks, troubleshooting, fish and crop selection, and options for assembling your own system with simple materials.

 

Small Farm Crop Planning
February 15
Saturday
9 a.m. – noon
Arturo Velasquez Institute Greenhouse
Gwenne Godwin, 2013 Windy City Harvest graduate, master gardener and master composter
$39

 

Cabin fever is setting in. It’s time to grab your seed catalogs and start planning for a productive year of vegetable production. This workshop covers: site analysis, vegetable garden plan components, space saving techniques and spacing, cool and warm season crops, crop and variety selection, three season and succession planning. There will be crop plan examples and a template for you to start your own crop plan. Bring a drawing of your farm site with dimensions.

 

Seed Starting for Edibles
February 22
Saturday
9 a.m. – noon
Arturo Velasquez Institute Greenhouse
Erin Matson, Windy City Harvest Rodeo Farm coordinator and lab assistant
$39

 

In this workshop, we’ll cover seed starting dates for edibles, container format options, organic soil mixes, how to create ideal conditions and trouble shoot. You will learn different techniques for starting your own vegetable transplants as well as how to use our favorite, the soil-block maker, a sustainable method for starting seeds. You will leave this workshop with 12 soil blocks you make of a green of your choice—chard, collards or kale. Bring a shoe box or tray to carry your starts home in!

Small Farm Season Extension
March 8 or August 2
Saturday
9 a.m. – noon
Arturo Velasquez Institute Greenhouse

$39


The March class is taught by Megan Baumann, 2012 Windy City Harvest graduate and Green Youth Farm coordinator.
The August class is taught by Erin Matson, Windy City Harvest Rodeo Farm coordinator and lab Assistant.

 

Learn how to extend your spring or fall growing season to nine months or even year-round production. Explore what crops and varieties perform best in Chicago. Specific techniques will be covered such as using row cover, building simple low tunnels and cold frames, or even creating protected cultivation in a hoophouse. This workshop includes a hands-on basic low-tunnel build-out activity.

Building Healthy Soil
Saturday, April 5
9 a.m. – noon
Arturo Velasquez Institute Greenhouse
Matt Ryan, 2011 Windy City Harvest graduate and Talking Farm coordinator
$39

 

Learn about composting, vermicomposting, cover cropping, and other soil-building techniques. This workshop will cover soil testing and pH for vegetable crops. Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants!

Workshop Time, Location, and Registration Information
All Windy City Harvest workshops are held Saturdays in the greenhouse classroom at the Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL. (Please enter the south parking lot at 31st Street). Registration for each class ends the Thursday prior to each class. The cost is $39; no discounts apply. There is a $20 cancellation fee per class unless the class is cancelled due to low enrollment. We cannot refund fees requested on or after the start date of a program or for sessions missed due to student illness or other personal situations. All workshops are taught by Windy City Harvest certificate graduates.

All materials and handouts are provided. Windy City Harvest is a program of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Community WOrkshops
Workshops are also available "on demand" for groups of five or more within the Chicago area. These workshops can be hosted at our greenhouse or at a location of your choice. Topics include: 2014 Workshop Topics, Organic Pest & Disease Control, Small Farm Tools, Raised Bed Construction, and Post-Harvest Handling. If you or your organization is interested in hosting a workshop and has a minimum of five attendees, please contact and title your e-mail "Community Workshops."