Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Don’t Like Front Yard Vegtable Gardens and Yet I Have One

This is my yard after we moved into our condo.

A group of neighborhood darlings smashed my gazing ball. Boo.

A year or two later my front yard looked like like something out of an apocalyptic sci fi movie. Japanese beetles and grubs killed most of my shrubs and flowers. Slime mold killed the rest.

The reason this blog is called Condo Blues. *sigh*

Husband and I rented a jackhammer to remove the concrete from the flower beds. Best. DIY. Ever!

Yep. That's me in all my 4'11 glory using a big ol' jackhammer!

I built a dry stack brick garden boarder from reclaimed bricks.  Husband and I bought and dumped a bunch of organic Ohio peat in the beds to amend our horrible clay soil. Husband’s running injury put more hauling, lifting, carrying and planting on hold for two summers. Boo.

A bunch of neighbors like the look so much, they copied me.
Except they have plants in their flower beds.

This spring, my Christmas tree to be and chive were out growing their patio pots. So was the lavender in the tree ring. It was time to put up or shut up if I wanted to add some no cost plants to the front flowerbeds before they died a root bound death.

After multiple trips in our economy size car to the gardening center and 1764 pounds of organic Ohio dirt later we have a raised garden bed!

All for this for the cost of the dirt. Woot!

And crazy sore muscles. Whoever said that gardening is Zen and relaxing LIED. Ow, ow, ow!

My Front Yard Farm


Yeah, about that.

When I first heard about it, I let the Lawns are Evil Turn Your Yard Into a Farm movement walk on by because big vegetables gardens are needy.

I'm not allergic to hard work.  I'd much rather do jackhammer projects.

Lawns are easier and flowers are pretty. I let Mother Nature take care of watering my grass. Where I live grass needs just an inch of water a week to stay healthy and lush anyway. Grass cleans the air, prevents erosion, and creates oxygen.

Blitzkrieg likes grass too.

It's cool if you like it. I'd never complain about a neighbor and take her to court over a front yard vegetable garden. It's just not my thing.

Sorry green people.

My Accidental Edible Landscape

A small herb container garden on the patio is more my speed in the grow your own food arena. That’s what I thought when I signed up for a packet of free seeds from Dinner Garden. Dinner Garden is a nonprofit that  encourages newbies like me to grow some of their own food by giving them free seeds. They answer questions about gardening and hold your hand.  Since they are a nonprofit, they can't always meet the demand for seeds. I figure if I got seeds -  great! I'd give it a go. If I didn't get seeds - no problem. I'll buy a Thai basil plant for the patio and call it day.

 I am going to try to grow this. I hope.

After the seeds came, the bare patches in between the transplantings in the front yard made Husband and I decide to plant everything in the front yard instead of in the now empty pots on the patio. I hope it looks more like ornamental plants that accidentally turned into vegtables. I don’t want my guests first impression of my home to be,  “Oh, you live at Green Acres!”

It looks better than before but it's still a little sparse.

It’s sorta of working. One of the neighbors though my chive plants were some sort of pompous grass. The chive and lavender work as pretty (and edible) pest control. That is exactly what I want in an organic garden because I forget to reapply pest control, fertilizer, and such after it rains.

Husband is getting into the gardening thing too. He and Blitzkrieg do a the State of the Garden Address every night. It’s kinda like the President’s State of the Union Address except Husband’s address involves a rousing game of Plant or Weed?

 Nope. Nothing growing yet.

I plan to build pretty teepee trellises for the beans so they look a bit more like climbing flowering vines that accidentally turned into veggies. 

I have a garden doodad with a special surprise to fill the space in front of the garden stones.

Do you have any advice for me? I really don't want to do this again from scratch for the fourth time.

For more ways to kill Japanese Beetles in your garden check out the following ideas - and more! below!

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Mary said...

I like a front yard vegetable garden, like an English cottage garden. Many vegetables and herbs have pretty flowers and certain flowers make good companion plants for vegetables. Also your garden will attract more butterflies than just grass does. Some vegs are less needy than others: okra is pretty self-sufficient and has large hibiscus-like blossoms and comes in different sizes and colors. Beans & pole beans are also pretty easy. Squash and zuchinni are less hardy but I think the bush varieties are pretty with their big leaves and blossoms.

Dime Store Smut said...

The only reason I see not to have a vegetable garden in the front is that those charming people who smashed your gazing ball might decide to take your veggies too. If you aren't worried about other people suing you or taking some veggies for their own fridges, garden on girl. My family is kind of hippie and we have two fairly large garden spaces in the back. Okra is awesome, agree with Mary (big pretty flowers)- ours grew to be about 5 feet tall! - and squash loooovvvessss heat - we have zukes and squash. Watermelon is pretty, but it can take over and I love the smell of herbs- the look isn't too bad either. Strawberries are almost ornamental anyway- we just planted blue and blackberries as well. Just know that neighboring animals might be interested at well in what you grow......

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

The little darlings that smashed my gazing ball and road their bikes through that side of my yard are gone. The only veggie threat is Winston the big goofy dog next door :) He likes pets better than chive so I'm safe there.

Fortunately, a lot of my neighbors tuck tomato plants, etc in their front yards. There isn't a HOA rule against it. I doubt I'll find myself in a situation like that poor woman in Oak Park, MI.

I should mention the back patio gets south facing sun and the front is partial sun. I took photos today. I made & installed teepee trellises and got compliments on my flower garden from a new neighbor. It's working!

Laina27 said...

Hi Lisa, I, too, have planted chives, lavender, mint, sage, basil, rosemary, teepee, (and a STAINLESS STEEL gazing ball),etc, in my front flower bed at the HOA, and no one has complained yet! Here is more info that might help......

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