2023 Chicago Ag HS 8
Ford 5
2023 April Pollinators 1
2023 April Pollinators 7
2023 April Pollinators 6
2023 April Pollinators 5
2023 April Pollinators 4
2023 April Pollinators 3
2023 April Pollinators 2
Gethsemane Veggies 4
Gethsemane Veggies 1
Gethsemane Veggies 2
Gethsemane Veggies 9
Gethsemane Veggies 10
Gethsemane Veggies 7
Gethsemane Veggies 8
Gethsemane Veggies 5
Gethsemane Veggies 6
Gethsemane Veggies 3


An apple tree surrounded by flowers

Herb garden with allyssum and nasturtiums

Tomato plant with beans

Tomato plant with marigolds

Three Sisters Pot - corn, beans and squash




Our presenter, Steve Gustafson, spoke to us about the fascinating world of pollinators. He has extensive experience with native bees and native ecology of Chicago. Steve is a participant in the Edgewater Environmental Coalition "Parkways for Pollinators" program.  He has a native plant nursery and last year he raised 10,000 plants for sale to individual gardeners, schools, and community groups, and this year he and his coworkers are growing more species with hopes to plant more pollinator gardens and native plant areas throughout the city. He loves spreading the word on native plants and their essential benefits to wild bees, butterflies, other pollinators, the ecosystem, and humans too. His site is:  www.prairiefriends.com


Did you know that there are 4000 species of native bees in the US? Honey bees are not native but are naturalized. Most bees are solitary nesters so they don't live in hives and are unlikely to sting.

Other pollinators are butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and bats in the southwest.



Growing Vegetables in Pots

We visited the Gethsemane Garden Center on Clark St. in Chicago for a talk on growing vegetables and edible flowers in pots. You don't need a huge garden plot to have a productive garden.  Our speaker, John, the Vegetable Section Manager, delighted us with his vast knowledge of mixing and matching various vegetables, fruit trees and shrubs, herbs and edible flowers in one pot.  Did you know that most fruit trees now come in a dwarf variety, a blueberry bush can be planted in a pot and many tomato varieties are now availbale as bushes?

The basic rules of planting in pots are:

  • Plant in root zone layers, i.e. place a plant with longer roots with plants with shorter roots
  • Plant plants together with the same watering needs
  • Plant plants with the same nutritional needs together or plants that provide the nutritional needs of other plants in the same pot, e.g. beans that fix nitrogen with tomatoes that need nitrogen
  • Edilble flowers can be planted with the veggies to provide beauty and something to put in your salad for interest
  • Only use flowers that are cultivated to be eaten such as nasturtium, allyssum or marigolds
  • For healthy and productive plants, use activated compost


Visit the Gethsemane Garden Center website  here.


Nancy Wieting and Steve Gustafson

Native nursery plants

Root growth on a native plant

Natives in the wild

Dona Vitale


Pollination of Sunflowers (via Zoom)


Karen Taira, Family and Adult Program Coordinator at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, spoke to us about her thesis research on the pollination of native sunflowers. Some plants can self-pollinate but sunflowers cannot so they need the bees and other insects to do the work.


Our monthly programs are usually held on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM in the Warren Park Field House, 6601 N. Western Ave. Chicago.


We usually feature a social get-together with refreshments followed by a guest speaker.


To view program and activity offerings from previous years, click here.



The Chicago High School for agricultural sciences - via Zoom

School principal, William Hook, presented us with an overview of their program.


To view a movie description of the school's history and mission, click here.


Our guest presenter was the Solar Programs Administrator, Marina Minic, for the Citizens Utility Board, CUB. 


Marina discussed the various methods of  adding solar panels to your building and the economics of doing so. One interesting note is that renters can join a pool of solar users to receive a moderate rebate for their electric bill.


Everything You Want To Know About Solar Power But Didn't Know Who to Ask-via Zoom

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