Jefferson Park Neighborhood Feb. 25th Meeting


Spring gardening tips and the 100th anniversary of the Cook County Forest Preserve District were discussed at the Feb. 25 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.

"You plant the garden when the soil tells you," forest preserve district naturalist Irene Flebbe said. One test involves squeezing a handful of dirt, and if it crumbles without feeling too cold and damp, the soil should be ready, she said.

When designing a new garden, shade and sunlight should be taken into consideration for the placement of flowers and lawn furniture and the main purpose of the garden should be decided, Flebbe said. She said that gardens can be intended primarily for growing vegetables or flowers or they can have a variety of recreational uses, including a walking path, benches and an outdoor cooking grill.

Given the proximity of expressways to many area homes, Flebbe recommended that residents have the soil from their yards tested for heavy metals or other contaminants if they plan to grow vegetables. She said that a soil sample can be mailed to a testing company.

Flebbe said that there are several inexpensive ways that the design of a garden can be improved. She said that walking paths can be created "by just running your lawnmower through it."

As part of the forest preserve district’s centennial celebration, it will open 20 miles of new trails and will offer family camping in the preserves for the first time in more than 50 years. T he district will hold 100 events for families during the week of Sept. 21 as part of the celebration.

The district has about 70,000 acres of land for educational and recreational purposes.

It was announced at the meeting that the "Jefferson Park Sunday Market" will return to the park, 4822 N. Long Ave., in June. The markets, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of the month from June to October, will feature produce and cheese vendors, crafters and entertainment.

Vendor or volunteer information for the markets can be obtained by calling 773-282-3879 or online at