Neighbor M and I decided to share the vegetable plot in our new community garden. The first year, we grew tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, lettuces, and I'm sure a few other things I can't remember.
As the yard had been nothing but grass prior to becoming a community garden, our vegetables took on nuclear proportions. Squash plants as tall as my hips. Tomatoes that never stopped producing. 2011 was a banner year for vegetables. Since then, it's hasn't produced as much for a variety of reasons, one of which is that neither Neighbor M nor I feel like walking over there in July to weed and water every day. Yet my desire for fresh vegetables continues to urge on my inner farm girl and tell her "Plant more!"
This is where it might get a little crazy.
I've been trying to come up with ideas for my front yard for some time. The allée is being turned in to a butterfly and bee haven. The back yard will (eventually) be landscaped some more and be my tranquil oasis in the city. But the front? The place where I have some flower beds, a lot of crabgrass, and full sun?
I'm turning it in to a vegetable garden.
It took me a while to be comfortable with the idea. After all, front-yard vegetable gardens have only recently been gaining some traction among gardeners but I still wouldn't call it a popular idea. I want fresh food, yes, but I still want it to look nice, and will blighted tomatoes ever look nice? But one day, ye olde Google showed me this photo:
|Image courtesy of theartofdoingstuff.com|
It was from this post at The Art of Doing Stuff and oh my god! She has a front yard vegetable garden AND it looks nice! Not only nice, but I think I'd like to roll around in it for awhile, meditate, and then eat. This was the inspiration my inner farm girl was looking for!
My front yard is about four feet above the sidewalk and with my existing flower beds and bushes, a lot will automatically be hidden. I'm still playing with some designs (more in another post) and will likely have to move around some of the flower beds closer to the house. Also, since I can just move a sprinkler around, watering should not be an issue like it is at my current community garden plot.
My prep work thus far includes:
1. Soil testing - I do intend to get my soil tested for lead (this place looks easy enough). Now that the ground isn't as frozen as it was during the Polar Vortex, I may be able to dig down far enough to get some good samples.
2. Seeds - I'm going to go as organic as I can and Monsanto, etc.-free. I've already purchased a variety of seeds from Cubits and am still looking for more. If you have a favorite vegetable seed purveyor who meets my criteria, please let me know.
3. Stop letting the dog pee in the front yard. Today's crabgrass is tomorrow's carrots and...ew.
4. Seed starting - It's almost time! I'm not ready! I'm looking for organic soil in which to start seeds (if you have suggestions, let me know). My big box store does not carry this, or at least not in January, so I need to look to the internets.
I'm really, really excited about this. I look forward to being able to walk out my door and grab a turnip or some beets. I just need to figure out how to marry function with looking pretty.
Coming up in Part 2 - design ideas!
What do you think of front yard vegetable gardens?