Cultivating Relationships With the Community by Connecting to One Another Through Nature


The 71st and Crandon Organic Garden is located on three vacant city lots in the heart of South Shore.

The garden was born as a result of the 5th Ward Participatory Budget process. There were months of public meetings at which members of the community asked for multiple community gardens. This desire was winnowed down to a single vision for a garden on the corner of 71st and Crandon. The project would go on to receive more votes than any other in the participatory budgeting process. 

Established in May 2016

In May 2016, 200 hours of volunteer service were donated by moving multiple yards of mulch and soil and planting a total of 19 trees and shrubs: 2 black cherry trees, 5 American plum trees, 1 black walnut tree, 1 pecan tree, 5 hazelnut shrubs, 2 bald cypress,  2 swamp white oaks, and 1 linden tree. These 19 trees/shrubs will help clean the air, reduce runoff into combined sewers, and create a gathering space for the community.


The garden is owned by NeighborSpace.  NeighborSpace is the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups. They shoulder the responsibilities of property ownership — such as providing basic insurance, access to water, and links to support networks  — so that our community can focus on gardening. NeighborSpace-protected gardens give young and old alike an opportunity to get their hands in the earth and enjoy nature, right in their own neighborhoods.


Mission and Vision

Our mission is to cultivate relationships with the community by connecting to one another through nature.

Our vision is three fold:

  • To be able to nurture the curiosity of the youth by providing them hands on learning sessions.
  • To provide a space for positive and safe social interactions.
  • To improve nutritional awareness and promote healthy eating habits.

How it Works

The garden holds 43 raised beds that are leased to individuals for the growing season to independently plant, maintain,

and harvest.  

Each bed is leased for $25 a season.

We encourage children of all ages to participate.  We offer planting bags, seeds, and soil at no cost.

We also offer veggies and herbs for the community.

Events and News

2022  EVENTS 

Spring is in the air!  Here is our preliminary events calendar

Spring Prep days - Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st

Opening Day - Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd

Shed Painting Party - Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th

Meet & Greets - 1st Weekend of the month starting Sunday, June 5th

Family Day - Sunday, June 26th and Sunday, August 11th

Cooking Demo - Saturday, July 24th

Paint & Sip - Saturday, September 17th

End of Year - Saturday, November 5th and Sunday, November 13th

Sign-up for Email Notifications

2022 Spring Seed Planting Guide

 The Farmer's Almanac estimates the last frost date as April 18th.   Wondering when to start your seeds indoors? 

Here are a few common veggies and herbs you can start now:  

CROPStart IndoorsTransplant
BasilFeb 20-Mar 6April 18-May 9
Bell PeppersFeb 6-20April 25th-May 9
BroccoliFeb 20-Mar 6Mar 21-Apr 11
CucumbersMar 21-28May 2-16
MelonsMar 21-28May 2-16
TomatoesFeb 20-Mar 6April 25-May 16

Are your Seeds still good?

Most brand new seeds have a 90% germination rate, meaning that 9 out of  every 10 seeds should grow.  But seeds that are aged over three years have a germination rate of only 60%.  To test older seeds before you plant:

1. Fold a dampened paper towel in half. 

2. Take 2-3 seeds and place them on the damp towel.

3. Fold the towel over the seeds  and place in a zipped plastic bag or airtight container in a warm location.

4. After a few days, open the bag and see if any sprouted.  This will give you a good gauge of how your seeds are germinating.

Why include flowers with your veggies?

Flowers not only attract pollinators, but some perform double duty as pest deterrents.  Here are just a few you can try:

1. Lavender or Basil- repels mosquitoes, fleas, flies and moths

2. Alliums - repels cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies, and slugs

3. Petunias- repel squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and aphids

4. Marigolds - repels mosquitos, cabbage worms, plant lice

Squash Bug with eggs

Homemade Garden Fertilizers

Instead of buying fertilizer, you can use items from home:

1. Grass Clippings- mix in your compost or use as a thin layer of mulch.

2. Egg shells - you can mix in your compost, or crush and add a few teaspoons in the hole as you plant, or just sprinkle the crushed eggshells around the base of the plant.

3. Tree Leaves - crush them and till into the soil or use as a mulch. 

4. Coffee grounds- great as a compost mix or as fertilizer for certain plants.

5. Banana peels - you can mix them in your compost or bury near a rose bush

Direct Composting   

Compost is a nutrient-rich soil made from decayed scraps and landscape waste.  If you don't have the time, space,  or patience for standard composting, direct composting may be for you.

1. Dig a hole or trench, usually at least 12 inches deep to discourage pests.

2. Dump in your table scraps (no meat, oil, dairy)

3.  Add the same amount of brown material (shredded leaves, paper, ashes, nut shells, used potting soil) as you did of the table scraps.

4. Cover with the removed soil.

In about a month, the mix will turn into rich compost, feeding nearby plants.


No experience required!

We always need volunteers to help maintain the garden.  Volunteer projects include watering, weeding, painting, and harvesting.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at

Interested in Participating?

The Garden has Great Benefits to offer:

Learn about growing fresh veggies

A resource for fresh herbs

Students can earn service learning hours

Great for volunteers of all skill levels

Crandon Garden Email

Visit our FaceBook Page- Crandon Community Garden


We would like to thank all the volunteers and community supporters