Backyard Gardening: Taking the CSA Farm Box to the Extreme

Attention Illinois backyard gardeners!Friends of mine are considering devoting a sizable section of their backyard to a vegetable garden this summer. (I personally have room for a couple of pots of herbs and a few cherry tomato plants, so I’m living a bit vicariously through them here.) In talking with my friend, I was reminded of the summers of my youth when my parents attempted to plant a veggie garden in our backyard.

I say attempted because I grew up in San Diego, on Point Loma, where the ground was mainly sandstone. Not the ideal canvas for creating a bountiful garden. But we had fun doing it, with moderate success. Tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini did well. I think zucchini will grow anywhere. Folks who plant zucchini are soon enough giving away giant squash to anyone (friends, relatives, the mail man) who will take them off their hands. (Unfortunately, zucchini is one of my least favorite vegetables to cook with. There’s only so much zucchini bread I can eat.) We grew lettuce (no deer or bunnies to nibble on it) and I remember a thin carrot of two as well.

But I digress. The point of this post was to ask my fellow Illinoisians (Illinoians? Illini??) who tend their own veggie gardens what they’ve successfully managed to grow. My knowledge of gardening in Zone 5 doesn’t extend to vegetables, so anyone who can provide any advice, I (and my friends) would appreciate it.


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