There’s nothing like getting dirt under your fingernails and spending some time among the greenery. But in a city as crowded as Chicago, you’re one of the lucky ones if your apartment or home has a yard big enough to let you get down and dirty.
Thankfully, Chicago is home to dozens of community gardens—edible and ornamental alike—where you can test out your green thumb—and meet your neighbors.
Most of the gardens listed assign plots between February and May, but there’s usually a waiting list. It’s not too soon to get in touch with them—the sooner you sign up, the better your chances.
49 E. 95th St.
This garden operates in three seasons (sorry, winter!) to teach kids ages 6-12 the basics of gardening from planting, maintaining the garden and harvesting all of their favorite fruits and vegetables. Call for registration.
3748 S. Prairie Ave.
Head to Bronzeville to get your green thumb fix at this three-season garden. Bring the kiddos (ages 6-12) to take part in their free lessons on gardening and nutrition. Call for registration.
5491 S. Shore Drive
This garden has been bringing the Kenwood and Hyde Park communities together over the dirt for more than 40 years. With 42 garden plots, this garden is open to anybody interested in communing with nature. Call for availability.
4701 N. Ashland Ave.
Get to know your neighbors with 34 available plots for growing vegetables and herbs. Email [email protected] for availability.
4501 N. Clarendon Ave.
The Clarendon Park Advisory Council created this garden in 2015, which is now home to 20 plots of organic vegetables grown by residents. Call for availability.
4615 W. Jackson Blvd.
Clark Park is another garden home to a program dedicated to teaching children ages 6-12 the basics of gardening, nutrition and cooking. Call for registration.
1330 W. Chicago Ave.
Help with weeding and maintenance while you get to know your neighbors at this communal organic vegetable garden. Visit the garden the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. from April to October to get involved.
5056 N. Monticello Ave.
This newly introduced community garden was created in 2016 for immigrant and low-income residents in Albany Park to grow their own food and get to know their neighbors. There are 21 plots in the garden. To get involved, email [email protected].
2554 W. Moffat St.
The Lucy Flowers garden offers free gardening workshops for children and adults alike. For more information on workshops, email [email protected].
2411 W. 55th St.
Gage Park is another three-season organic garden with a focus on teaching the young’uns the importance of healthy eating, sustainable food sources and harvesting skills. Call for registration.
2945 N. Kenosha Ave.
Take the kiddos to Ken-Well park to teach them the basics of planting, maintaining and harvesting their own vegetables in the Hermosa neighborhood. The program is free and open to the public. Call for registration.
1330 E. 50th St.
This garden brings volunteers and neighbors in the Kenwood community together to grow fruits and vegetables with both organic and permaculture-based methods. To start volunteering or to check availability, email [email protected].
2732 N. Avers Ave.
Head to Kosciuszko Park to learn the ropes on gardening or learn new methods of caring for your plant babies alongside the little ones at this community garden. Call for more information about registration and availability.
2045 N. Lake Shore Drive
This garden at Diversey Harbor offers garden plots primarily for fruits and vegetables, with the occasional flower thrown in. The garden opened in 2015 and is open to all interested gardeners and neighbors. Email [email protected]for availability.
4921 N. Marine Drive
With 52 plots on-site, the Edgewater Beach Community Garden is a thriving neighborhood hub. Two plots are dedicated to growing produce for Care for Real, a community food bank. For more information, visit ebga.org.
5940 S. Central Ave.
Right next to Midway Airport might not be the first place you’d imagine a community garden, but Minuteman Park Harvest Garden would prove you wrong. Call for more information.
5085 W. Adams St.
This garden near Oak Park features free gardening classes for children ages 6-12. Let the kids get dirty in the name of organic produce. Call to register.
5727 S. Racine Ave.
This South Side neighborhood park teaches children in the community the importance of growing food and how to harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Call to register for classes.
2533 N. Sacramento Ave.
The entirety of this park serves as a community garden, for both ornamental plants and edibles ones. Anyone is welcome to volunteer and care for the park, but to acquire an individual plot, volunteers must first contribute seven hours of work over three months. Email [email protected] for more information.
7900 S. South Shore Drive
This garden dates back to World War I when victory gardens were all the rage. Now, this garden is the last of its kind in the city and encourages a seed-to-table approach for all produce grown. Interested volunteers can visit rbvg7900.wixsite.com to register.
5887 N. Ridge Ave.
This tiny garden in Edgewater is home to 22 vegetable plots for community members to grow their own produce. Email [email protected] for availability. Plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
1331 W. Monroe St.
Every Chicagoan is welcome to try their hand at gardening at this community hub on the West Side of the city. Learn a new gardening skill or improve the ones you already have with your neighbors by your side. This garden also includes fruit trees and native plants. Email [email protected] for plot availability.
3344 West 71st St.
Part of the larger Marquette Park in West Lawn, this community garden is situated next to Tarkington Elementary School. All children in the neighborhood are welcome to register for free gardening classes. Call for availability.
5531 S. Martin Luther King Drive
This community garden is in Washington Park, which is home to an ample amount of green space. Take the whole family to this garden for hands-on learning on gardening, harvesting and utilizing fresh produce in meals. Call for availability.