Even Busy Hybrid Moms Can Garden

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I love vegetable gardens.   I am not an expert but with a little bit of research and creativity, I continually craft different types of gardening spaces in my yard, each one unique.  Aesthetically it adds so much to the landscape. For the last few years I have had my garden on the side of my front yard and it became the neighborhood destination.  If I ever didn’t have my scarecrow up, the neighbors would complain.  An older man once came up to me when I was out working in the garden and told me he liked to come by each year and see how she (yes my scarecrow is a woman) was dressed.  So if you think that you don’t have the space for a garden, don’t be afraid of the front yard if there is a way to make it quaint and beautiful.  I like to use all the spaces on my property.  Even an unused side yard with good sun can be transformed into a little farm. 

Scarecrow in my front yard garden

After years of gardening and trying different things, there are a few useful tips that have always proven to work.  Keeping it tidy and uniformed is a must – DO NOT let it get tady and full of weeds.  I like to make my garden useful but also kind of artistic.  Using trellises and teepees get things growing up which adds an artistic flair.  And last, I like to over plant, so it is lush and full.

A great resource I have found is www.growveg.com.  They offer a 30 day free trial of their Garden Planning Tool.  It’s so easy – from creating a plan to how much to buy and even reminder emails (just in case you forget to tend to your garden), it’s all included.  It’s really great.

Whatever the landscape of your yard, you can find ways to work with it. The front yard garden had a bit of a slope, so I could not do raised beds. Instead I dug trenches and mounds of dirt for the vegetables.  The idea is to get 18” of loose soil for the roots to spread.  This trenching took me a while, but it was worth it – it really took off.  Growing the veggies up on teepees is very helpful as it gives you more space (and looks beautiful).  I did several different veggies this way, but I loved the sugar baby pumpkins.  They really become works of art.   It helps keeping all the foliage off the ground to avoid pests and diseases too.

Baby pumpkins “before”

Baby pumpkins “after”

This year I am trying a new space in a sunny side yard.  It is flat so I (along with my gardener) built two raised beds from 16 landscape ties.  We cut them down a little so the beds are 8’x6’.   You need to be able to reach the middle without ever stepping on (and compacting) the soil.  This size is a bit of a stretch, but I always like to push things a little.  We used L brackets that I got from the hardware store and attached them together leaving about 18″ between the two.  We brought the sprinklers up into the boxes, filled them with ½ compost and ½ potting soil and now we are ready to rock.  There is a book I think I might have mentioned before called The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith…it is also a really helpful reference.

My new garden space

Brackets and landscape ties

Ready to plant

I think I will put pea gravel around the beds and in the pathway and maybe under a big picnic table for summer dinning.  I am also planning to put a peaceful place to sit on the path to enjoy all the sites of the developing vegetables. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and develops and will be sure to share more pictures as it does.

So give it a try. If you are new to it and unsure, start small and experiment. You will learn what does and does not work along the way. It is so exciting to watch the crops grow and then be able to feed your family with them 

Ready to plant

I think I will put pea gravel around the beds and in the pathway and maybe under a big picnic table for summer dinning.  I am also planning to put a peaceful place to sit on the path to enjoy all the sites of the developing vegetables. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and develops and will be sure to share more pictures as it does.

So give it a try. If you are new to it and unsure, start small and experiment. You will learn what does and does not work along the way. It is so exciting to watch the crops grow and then be able to feed your family with them