We always plant tomatoes and hot peppers, but some years, those are unsatisfying because Chicago doesn't get quite hot enough for quite long enough. Trying to figure out what else is worth planting, given that it's a smallish plot -- the general advice is to plant what you actually eat; the kids eat a lot of broccoli, and we go through a lot of onions, but I suspect the amount of space we'd need to give over to actually keep up with our household demands on those two would be hard to manage. Maybe peas -- they like frozen peas, but they might eat fresh ones off the vine. And it's fun growing peas / corn / squash together -- I used to do that in California. Hm.
Today, dig more crab grass and the first dandelions out of the hellstrip, and see what I can do with the invasive burdock. Then mulch the whole thing, I think (must buy mulch) -- I wasn't sure if I should hold off, since a lot of the perennials are just coming up and I don't want to smother any by mistake, but I *think* at this point I should be able to see them all. It's tricky, because there are some I recognize easily, like hostas, and some I know by placement, like the bleeding heart, but then there are others that I put in new last year and I don't think I ever added them to the garden plan and honestly I have no idea what they are. Will try not to smoosh them in mulch.
Still trying to figure out what would be a good ground cover for the hellstrip. I have a big patch of creeping charlie in back, that I'm tempted to transplant over there, because it'll be contained by the sidewalk and road. But will it crowd out the pansies, etc.? I think my ajuga would. How aggressive is it?