Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rethinking the Front Yard

It is raining and stormy again today and will be until Thursday or Friday. To help keep myself entertained, I was looking through the BiMart coupon book. Six pack annual flowers are on sale. That got me thinking.

Instead of buying annual flowers, why not buy some vegetables to take their place? Yup, grow your veggies in among your flower garden. Not a far-fetched idea.

Think of lettuces growing as a front of the border plant. I love the Territorial Seed Gourmet Lettuce Blend of five different leaf lettuces. Instead of picking the entire plant, my dad always had us pick just the outside leaves leaving the core leaves to continue to grow.

How about putting your asparagus and rhubarb together in a corner bed? Harvest them in the spring and then have the show of the huge rhubarb leaves with the feathery asparagus tops waving high above them.

I have sown my carrots among my winter squash plants. The feathery tops of carrot in contrast with the yellow blooms and green leaves snaking through the bed look so tropical. Add the maturing fruits and you have a colorful bed for the summer into fall.

My neighbor always puts up a bamboo pole wigwam with scarlet runner beans every summer. The grandkids play in it by the hour. He says it’s the only reason anyone uses his front garden.

Growing up, people in our neighborhood planted fruit and nut trees for shade. I remember Lois and Joe putting in a flowering cherry. The entire neighborhood was abuzz with the reasoning why, these two extra frugal, people put in an ornamental tree and not a food tree. It was a sign that the Great Depression mentality was on the wane.

I remember several neighbors, with shady backyards, putting their vegetables in the front yard flower beds. Tomatoes by the front porch, corn planted as a hedge down the property line, sweet peppers and marigold lining the front walk, potatoes in their own little fluffy bit of a bed, giant cabbages squashing down the weeds, and all inter-planted with vibrant flowers to bring in the bees.

If doing a full-scale vegetable garden in the front yard is too much, just take a few baby steps towards your own sustainable garden habit.

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