Monday, July 8, 2013

Food, Not Lawn

We live in a neighborhood full of perfectly manicured, bright green lawns. Ours is not one of them. We choose to use an organic fertilizer that our children and dog can safely play on. And last summer, during a long dry spell, we did not sprinkle gallons and gallons of water on our lawn to keep it green. As a result, we have a spotty, kind-of-green lawn. At the end of last summer, we tore up all the lawn on the south side of our house (what was left of it anyway). We had a stepping stone path and log walk installed, tilled in compost, and let it rest. I am sure our neighbors spent last fall and this spring wondering what on earth we were going to do with that great big expanse of mud. At first, it was going to be a perennial flower bed, but the more I got to thinking about it, the more I wanted that space to be both beautiful and useful. I spent the winter months planning and starting seeds. Finally, after rain, rain, and more rain, we started to shape that big expanse of mud into our new vegetable garden. It was slow going, thanks to me being very pregnant, and then having a newborn to care for, but it is finally filling in!

This first year is one big experiment, discovering what will do well in this area that gets full sun and a lot of wind. From left to right above (all heirloom varieties): bush beans, onions, the boys checking out the tomatoes, pole beans on teepee, sweet corn, acorn squash, pumpkins, and the beginnings of a small cottage garden along the house (sunflowers, hollyhock, bachelor's buttons, zinnias, and poppies). Not pictured, behind me are kale and broccoli (not doing so well), and to the left, more pumpkins.
The boys love to go out and check on their 'Green, Green Garden,' the title of one of their current favorite books. "Every day we weed, water, and wait. We weed, water, and wait some more."
In our raised gardens in the back of the house are our greens, peas, herbs, carrots, cucumbers and more broccoli. That garden has been producing enough greens for my morning smoothie, a giant lunch salad, herbs and greens for dinner, and snacks for pea sneaking boys.

    Dill 'fireworks'

I can't wait to see the growth over the next couple of months, and will be back to share the progress!


  1. Congratulations! I tore up my front lawn last summer. My back just doesn't get enough sun and I HATE mowing. Had an abundance of tomatoes, kale, green beans, Swiss chard, eggplant and broccoli. This year's garden got in late due to a number of things, but it's coming along. Rotated "crops". Have dozens of sungold volunteers from tomatoes that dropped last year. Don't give up on the broccoli. Mine was really slow last year, but then did very well. Glad to hear about the kids' book. A grown up one is Plant Seed, Pull Weed by Geri Larkin.

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the book recommendation, I just downloaded to my kindle :)

  2. We are thinking of building a prenatal studio in the place of our current, conventional-back-yard garden. After one year at our new place, Luke just said yesterday, "So, we should just put raised beds in the front yard instead of grass." We get better sun there, it's closer to a hose, and it's currently useless "lawn." I can't wait to show him your post. You have done such a beautiful job reclaiming your green space, and I imagine that took a lot of courage to be the first family to do so in your manicured neighborhood. Well done!