These are a few guides on seed starting, vegetable varieties, organic gardening practices,  plus links to gardening groups.

Chicago is in Plant Hardiness Zone 6a.

Average last frost date: May 15 according to the Chicago Botanic Garden for their Glencoe gardens. The date varies year to year, and our garden's proximity to the lake might temper colder weather and allow planting out of tender plants sooner. The local wisdom is to wait for Memorial Day for planting tomatoes, peppers, and other warm season crops. Keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared to cover seedlings with cloches, plastic sheeting, or wall-o-water.

When to Start Seeds

When in spring is soil ready for planting?

Plug in our average last frost date into this calculator from A Way to Garden to get exact dates to start many vegetables, flowers, and seeds, both indoors and outside.

Tips for fall garden planning and planting.

How to Start Seeds

Planting and seed-saving instructions from Seed Savers Exchange

FAQs at A Way to Garden, and excellent blog from garden expert Margaret Roach

Seed Starting articles from seed company Botanical Interests

Growing Guides

Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland is a printed month-by-month growing guide for beginners from the Peterson Garden Project. Their We Can Grow It web site shares timely how-to info.

Organic Gardening magazine's site offers bountiful advice for vegetables and more.

Vegetable Growing Guides from Cornell University

Growing edibles and more from Botanical Interests

The online Kitchen Garden Planner from Gardener's Supply plans a square-foot garden in minutes.

Gardening Organizations

The Peterson Garden Project is a Chicago not-for-profit group dedicated to teaching city-dwellers how to grow their own food as well as community. They offer classes, seedling sales, and opportunities to volunteer. Their guide to new gardeners is Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland. Find them on Facebook, too.

Chicago Community Gardens is a network of Chicago gardeners.

American Community Gardening Association offers training workshops, publications, and conferences to its members.

Hyde Park Garden Fair hosts an annual plant sale and supports community projects.