Garden Season


This isn’t sewing related, but I’m going to guess that some of you are also fans of gardening. I really wanted to have a vegetable garden this year. I love being outside when it’s nice out, love working in the dirt, and I really want my kids to also share in that fun. I also think my daughter is at a great age for learning about gardening and where our food comes from. (She’s 4). Last year we just had a few plants on the deck in pots. That was fun, but I was thinking bigger this year.

Unfortunately, our back yard is north facing and surrounded by woods on one side and houses on the others. Not a lot of sun going on back there. Lucky for me, Chicago and it’s suburbs are full of great park district programs. One of which are Community Garden Plots. I was lucky enough to get a plot this year. It is 19′ x 30′ and has access to water. I’m sure that’s small to some serious gardeners, but to me that is practically a farm. 🙂 My husband and I were joking about raising chickens on my plot. Kidding of course!!

I found this amazing software online called Grow Veg and did the free trial. You select what you want to grow and basically just drag the cursor around your garden and it automatically tells you how many plants to plan and how to space them.

Then you also get this nice chart about when you plant everything.

plant list

I’m probably getting in way over my head, but I will be happy to just grow a bit of food for us and to donate. (There are even donation areas at the garden plot site!) And also I am looking forward to some quality time with my kids at the plot. My daughter is very excited and we already painted a rock that says “Mommy and Avery’s Garden” to mark our space (her idea!)

Keep an eye out for updates throughout the summer. The plot opening was delayed due to all the rain we have been getting but Thursday is now opening day!


  1. 1


    congrats on the new garden! we love to do it even if it’s just tomatoes some years. FIY Strawberries don’t really produce the first year so I would suggest planting something else in your prime real estate 🙂 Oh and lettuces are more of a cold crop, if grown during the hot summer months their kind of bitter and gross (we learned the hard way)

  2. 3


    19’x30′ is big enough to have fresh vegetables all summer long with plenty to give away. I would agree that the lettuce won’t be great at the height of summer, but you could probably get some nice salads in May into June, then plant something else. And those pumpkins will snake through the whole garden.

    Have fun and get dirty!

  3. 4


    What fun! My kids used to love watching their pumpkin grow for Halloween, but their favorite was picking and eating the peas right out of the pod. I don’t see any peas in your garden though.
    Have fun!

  4. 5

    LT says

    What a great site. I created that same spreadsheet by hand! If only I knew then what I know now. Well, it will still be helpful for my autumn planting. Plus I have a much smaller garden than yours – just my east facing balcony. I wonder if DC has a similar program of cimmunity garden plots.

    • 6


      I wouldn’t be surprised if they do. I know in my parents town there is no park district but they can get a garden plot from a private company/farm. It is pricier though.

  5. 7

    Hallie says

    What a great idea! I have often wanted to grow herbs and veggies. Thanks for the tip on the software. I’m hoping to grow a few in my neck of the woods in downstate Illinois in Dunlap (just north of Peoria). I’m looking forward to your updates

  6. 8


    Thanks for the great tips! Ok, I will probably skip the strawberries then. My daughter wanted them but surely I can distract her with something else. The corn is also her idea although I’m not sure how successful that will be! I did read it needed to cross pollenate, hence the 4×5 section. I will probably at least try the lettuce. It is so cool up here anyway. Our frost free date isn’t even until mid-May which I find very depressing! But I still plan to start some of the cool weather items.

    Maybe I will replace the strawberries with regular peas?

  7. 11

    Irelle says

    Your garden plot could be a quilt pattern 🙂 I wish I didn’t have a black thumb. I would love to grow veggies but can’t seem to remember to water….. Have fun with your children!

  8. 12

    Jen says

    How fun! My husband has had a veggie garden for us the last two years. I can’t wait to show him that software because he usually sketches everything out. Here are tips from our experience. I highly recommend zucchini and yellow squash if your family eats them. They produce TONS and are so great on the BBQ. We’ve done 3 cucumber plants in the past and they make way more than anyone can keep up with, unless you plan to can them. Green beans are another favorite in our garden and the very best thing is cantaloupe. We designate more and more space for them each year. They’re small and don’t fully ripen until toward maybe August (May is also our last frost), but they are so delicious!! I’m sure both of your kids are really going to enjoy this fun experience!

  9. 13

    Sara says

    Thanks so much for the great link for this garden!!! How cool is that:) I hope you enjoy your garden experience to the fullest.

  10. 14


    Hi Faith I just thought Id let you know that I’ve nominated you for a stylish blogger award. The buttons on my blog but please dont feel obliged to collect it or pass it on. I know some bloggers dont do the awards thing. I just wanted to let everyone know that I think your blogs really inspiring 🙂

  11. 15

    Kara says

    Wow, great news on the stylish blogger award nomination!! Also thanks for the tip on that website. We might give that a try. We have starters inside that we meant to plant outside last weekend but, well, you saw my email about what we ended up doing last weekend. 🙂 So we have the space allotted but haven’t planted yet. 🙂

  12. 16

    Molly says

    Thanks for letting us know about the grow veg site. I’ve never heard of it. Since others are giving gardening tips, I don’t feel as bad about putting in my 2 cents as well…here goes. It’s best to plant your peppers as far from your tomatoes as you can. The tomatoes use a ton of nitrogen from the soil which causes low production and black spots on your poor peppers (learned it the hard way). Your soil may be different than here in AL, so it may not be an issue. Also, I grow lettuce all summer down here and it’s never bitter. There are multiple strains of Simpson (loose leaf) lettuce that produce well in hot temps. Black-seeded Simpson is my fav and it doesn’t bolt until September for me. Have fun!

    • 17


      Wow, that is a great tip! I will move the peppers then. I have never heard that. But last year when I did my stuff in pots I had mushy bottoms on a lot of my first round of tomatoes. I read to try putting eggshells in the soil and that either worked or something else did it but the tomatoes were fine after that. Weird stuff, gardening! 🙂

  13. 18


    I stumbled upon your website tonight after I was searching for Far Far Away II fabric, and I love your work. But when I saw the photos from the garden planner, I knew I had to leave a comment. I too, am renting a community garden plot, and used this webapp. It was super easy to use.

    But my garden is a disaster and over-run with weed. I live in Illinois too, and we’ve had way too much rain.

    But its still fun.

    Thanks for posting and sharing your craft, garden and family.


    • 19


      Colleen – I have had to deal with a lot of weeds too. I joked that my plot used to be a sod farm, there is so much grass growing! I have spent hours picking weeds and then also used Preen to prevent weeds (after my plants had started growing). I also put some mulch down. But yeah, weeds aren’t fun. 🙂

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