Saturday, May 29, 2010

Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

Last fall, the sewer pipe to my house backed up and needed to be replaced. The resulting mess left a front yard with rocks and mud as the main feature. Yet another area in need of a make-over. What a mess:

Now that my vegetable garden construction is almost over, I have to work on re-doing the front lawn.  Since I have vegetables on the brain these days, a new trend has been on my radar lately- front yard vegetable gardens.  It seems that some people are ditching their front yards of green grass for highly productive vegetable plots.  I love this idea!

When you live in an urban area with limited space, you have to get creative when it comes to putting in a vegetable garden. Sometimes you don't even have a backyard. Why not digg up the green lawn in front and replace it with a no-mowing required vegetable garden?

For me, as much as I'm really into this idea, the reality is that it is not an option for a number of reasons. One of the main ingredients to a successful vegetable garden is lots of sun.  Sure, there are plants that will grow in some shade, but at the end of the day even a little sun is needed.  Not something I get a lot of in the front.  More of a dappled shade. It seems to be enough to grow grass (or dandelions and clover in the case of my old lawn) but not enough to support a carrot or broccoli, much less a tomato plant.

Another thing that I wonder about is the effect of all the salt that would inevitably land on the garden soil in winter.  I'm thinking salt is not the best soil amendment around. Then there is also the local 'hooligan' to consider.  Oh they're out there and I'm often finding any number of interesting items tossed up on my lawn. I can just imagine what damage they would do at night to a vegetable garden.

I'm lucky in that I do have a space in my back to create my vegetable garden.   And, since half of my backyard is already taken up by the raised beds, I need to create some sort of flat space for my kids to play.  So I've resigned to the fact that I'm probably going to put in another lawn.

I'm not one of those serious 'lawn' people who put in a lot of effort keeping everything weed-free and green. I found I never needed to water much due to the dappled shade.  Despite this, my old lawn was usually green- mostly clover, mind you- but nice and green. There was the odd dandelion, of course, but have you ever noticed how a young child doesn't look at a dandelion as an annoying weed but as an attractive flower?  I've had many a dandelion bouquet presented to me, so i can appreciate the 'beauty' of this yellow flower.

I still love the idea, though. If I were to do a front yard vegetable garden, I would take inspiration from the following awesome vegetable garden I found on youtube:(http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ )

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