Planning a Chicago Vegetable Garden

Jake and I have a fairly typical Northside Chicago backyard – 17’ x 45’. We’ve made huge strides on the lawn part of the yard this summer, but I’ve got dreams of a fantastic 2010 vegetable garden dancing in my head!

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I know very little about gardening, but I know if I want a bountiful vegetable garden on my first try, it will require a lot of planning and research (and time for trial and error) so I’m getting started VERY early.

Jake and I put together a wish list of produce that we eat regularly or that we would like to eat more of:

Peppers
Tomatoes
Beats
Potatoes
Strawberries
Baby Greens
Snap Beans
Swiss Chard
Asparagus
Garlic
Shallots
Cucumbers

When we first started planning our yard, Jake created this way cool plan for the back yard garden beds that will give our yard a striking look and take advantage of the limited sunny spots in our lawn:

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Forgive my rather lame version of this beautiful design (Jake is obvious the artist of the family), but this was the ground plan I did this weekend plotting where all the green bounty would be planted. The grid is sized so each square equals 1 foot:
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(enlarged & cleaned up)

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The Strawberry wall and Mixed Greens Wall were inspired by this cool strawberry pyramid:

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The pyramid in the photo is for a yard that gets sun from all sides – since most of our best sun is along the north fence, we will probably build something that gets propped against the fence – more like a display shelf… but a similar concept. Something like this:
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(side view)

I like this idea so much that I think I’m going to put the baby greens in a similar set up.

Baby greens are SO COOL!! They are the garden’s version of instant gratification – they are ready to harvest in just 30 days. After you harvest the first crop, they come back again every 30 days, all summer until the first hard frost! Most websites I’ve looked at suggest planting one row every week or two so you can have salad-ready greens pretty much any time you want them.

I also plan to split my beet and potato plantings into 2 groups planted 3-6 weeks apart for harvesting at different times of the summer. We’ll see if that works!

I’ll be posting more pictures and plans and progress as things unfold. Stay tuned!

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One thought on “Planning a Chicago Vegetable Garden

  1. how are you going to make it through the winter with so much anticipation! This is so exceptional. I’m thinking those planter boxes will minimize the amount of weeding you have to do too. bang on sister!

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