Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vegetable Gardening in My Front Yard

It has been quite a summer, and the Lilliputian Cottage is thriving!

I made the decision to tear up my front yard and grow vegetables, fruit, and flowers there. I think it has been a good decision. And an added bonus is that I've met many new neighbors who regularly stop by to chat, ask questions, and visit. Their stories are interesting and varied...and sometimes quite poignant. It gives me the chance to spread a bit of joy and encouragement as well as good, freshly harvested veggies.

One story in particular stands out to me. There is a young lady who walks by my house on her way to the library, pushing a baby stroller that holds her beloved dog. She is neurodiverse. She always stops and talks if she sees me outside, and early in the season she told me more than once that she loves cucumbers. So, when my cucumbers began to ripen, I invited her into the garden and we picked all the cucumbers that were ripe. I picked some other veggies for her, and she left for home with a big shopping bag filled with produce--all of it fresh and at its best and grown with no pesticides, etc. She was so thrilled! She has been back several times, asking if my cucumbers are ready to pick again. We have had to come to an understanding that we need to share! But it pleases me that we have become friends after a fashion.

Like everything at the Lilliputian Cottage, my front yard isn't all that large. But it had two monster fir trees that overwhelmed the yard. The roots wandered underground all the way to my house, and they went under the sidewalk and, I'm sure, under the street as well. They were just plain old too big for the space. And I worried every time a strong wind came up that they'd crash into my tiny house. So I got permission from the city to take them down, and that's what I did last fall.
The second tree is coming down!
Getting ready to dig up the yard

As you can imagine, the mess was something else. One of my sons got an obviously very nice friend of his to buck and move the wood to my backyard, and then I had a company come in and start digging up roots. They filled up two monster dump trucks and didn't get nearly all of them. But it made a huge difference nonetheless.

A lovely fence was built, with privacy for the backyard, and a framed wire fence surrounding the front yard. I love my choice of fencing and wouldn't change it in any way!
Work begins on the fence

The fencing is done and we're ready to spread compost!

Now the fun part began: I started planting things. As is the case with many of us, I had a budget to adhere to, and most of said budget had already been spent on the big stuff. But I knew that I'd be able to add and expand over the next several years, so I was content to start small. I most planted annual vegetable seeds and starts, although I was able to plant three blueberry bushes that rewarded me with almost two quarts of blueberries! (When the bushes grow big, I'll be blueberry rich for sure!) And I planted two artichoke plants, which come again except in the very coldest of winters when they will die back. Still I love artichokes, so I took the chance. I also planted some perennial herbs and flowers...but mostly I stuck with cheap annual veggies and flowers.

My garden grew.

And grew!


Delphiniums are a favorite of mine!

Borage in full bloom. Good for people and good for my bunnies.

My first year of front-yard gardening is winding down. I'm hoping to make some raised beds for next year because I think it will keep the area looking more organized. But I'll continue to have a wide swath of flowers all around the perimeter. Bees love flowers. I love flowers (and herbs!). And my neighbors seem drawn to the colors and textures.

In the early morning I pour my first cup of coffee and wander through the garden. I water, or weed, or harvest, depending on the current need. But I always--always--cherish the time spent among my plants. They feed my body as well as my soul, and I'm grateful.

Blessings to you and yours. Life is guaranteed to be difficult sometimes, but when life gets ugly, hold your head up, square your shoulders, and carry on. Because you are precious!