HELP! What have I gotten into

Greetings, My chcildren have talked me into a vegetable garden and some fruit plants. I really do not know all that much about gardening, I am looking for some info. I live in a western burb of Chicago and the kid would like, Blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, grapes and blackberry 9are they the same as raspberry?)
Will they grow in some shade? how far apart do they need to be? will they spread all over?how many plants do you need to have a good pollination? Any preferences for my area? Are strawbeeries better in theose bag things or betterin the ground? Can any of these be grown in pots? How much room is needed for grapes? I have an 8 ft by 14 ft fence patio on the side are those runes long enough for a couple of grape plants?
The rear of my home face nw. closer to the west than the north. Thanks for your time and patience answering all these questions. I will post soon with all my vegetable garden questions.
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Sportinus wrote:

Check with your county agricultural extension agent for answers to your question that are for your particular area and growing zone. Should be in the phonebook under state or county agencies. Beats asking strangers that live far away for the answers.
George
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wrote:

Here is the link to all the extension services in the US. http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html
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Susan N.
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Thanks! I will look into that. Did not even know we had county extension services.
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Others have pointed you to extension offices. Let me share with you a few working issues.
- Tilling is excellent work for children :) - Planting is excellent work for children :) - Weeding is excellent work for children :) - Harvesting is excellent work for children :) - Presrving & canning are excellent work for children :) - Supervision is an adult task!
- Be the hero your wife always thought you were by also instilling in them the value of learning to cook for a family. It just takes supervision and quality control. Afterall they grew the food.
- Learn a lot about pest control including rabbits, deer, and birds. - Humans are one of the few animals dumb enough to eat hot peppers so plant habeneros near the edges where rabbits/deer may enter.
- Consider planting lettuce, tomato, carrots, and eggplant. - Do not bother planting zucchini as people give it away! In the summer, my car windows stay up out of fear strangers will try to give me some of their zucchini.
Words to live by: They wanted a garden and you are there to help them learn how to maintain a garden.
Dick - Founding member of the Anti-Manual Labor Society
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On Feb 27, 8:30 pm, snipped-for-privacy@smart.net (Dick Adams) wrote:
...some interesting stuff, including:

Here'bouts (about 50 mi. N of the MO/AR line) nobody bothers to lock up stuff. The exception is from July to October when going to Wal- Mart. You best lock your car or you will return to find the back seat full of zucchini.
cheers
oz
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