It started with the removal of half the turf in my back garden, chronicled here, here and here. The next victim in this lawn downsizing fervor is the 12 by 23-ft oval of lawn in the front, which I’ve decided to rip out and turn into a vegetable garden of some kind. Move over, Edible Estates!
See, I’m weak and easily swayed by the drumbeat of gardenbloggers and commenters who seem to think homegrown food tastes better and may even be better for you. Ever the doubter and, more importantly, a noncook, I’ve resisted the pressures of friends and neighbors but people like Michele Owens and Ed Bruske have worn me down.
HOW TO PREPARE?
Here’s the catch, though. I know literally nothing about growing food, so I’m looking for some real help here. Should I remove the sod and do anything to the land now, or can it all wait til the spring? Not to mention: What should I grow? Remember, it’s gotta be beginner-level, and things that I like to eat (hold the lima beans). And not too much of any one thing, either, or I’ll have to open a stand at the farmer’s market to get rid of the stuff. Most of the space has several hours of midday and afternoon sun and the rest has maybe 2 hours sun, with more hours of high dappled shade.
BUT IT’LL STILL LOOK LOVELY, RIGHT?
It’s the front, after all, and I’m still an unreconstructed ornamentalist (a scoffing term one hears in the veggie-growing world). But because of the fedge – a cute name for a combination hedge and fence, in this case chain-link fence covered by ivy – hardly anyone actually sees the front garden. Just the occasional curious pedestrian, though I’ve noticed, with hurt pride, that most of them would rather look at the big, beautiful home across the street than in my direction. Sniff.
But more importantly, I want it to look good for ME because I live here and see it often. Then there are my visitors, many of whom expect me to have figured out how to have a good-looking front yard, possibly due to all my assertions of garden-coaching abilities.
My first design idea is to keep the border intact and simply convert the oval to veggies, with maybe a path around its perimeter. And is it too much to ask that some of the vegetables I grow there be good-looking plants?
Food-growers, this is no time to abandon your newest convert. Help!