I started a new hobby in 2011, the year after we moved into our home in Oak Park: vegetable gardening. I grew zero vegetables before that year. My parents weren’t into vegetable gardening. Before moving to Oak Park, I lived in a condo or apartments or dorms in the urban landscape of Chicago, with little, if any, access to soil.
But in Oak Park, I had back yard large enough for raised beds, with plenty of room for our dog and future kids to run around the play too. And thus, I began my “farm,” as I affectionately refer to it.
Unlike most folks who experiment with a handful of vegetables their first time through (let’s plant a tomato, a cucumber, and pepper seedling to start off!), I tried my hand at over two dozen different vegetables, most of them from seed. Starting with grow lights which my husband bought for me the Christmas before the 2011 growing season, and armed with books instructing me on backyard homesteading, I was energized and ready to go!