Love Your Vegetables, Even In The Front Yard

Why do I put all our flowers out front and shove my veggies out back, out of sight?

This was the question I asked myself earlier this spring when my husband and I started planning our garden.  Our house is on a small lot so our space for a dedicated vegetable garden is limited. Since we took out our front lawn last year however, we found we still had quite a bit of available soil in our front, landscaped yard.  Inspired by the urban farming craze happening here in Portland, I resolved to plant nothing new in  my yard this year, front or back, that wasn’t edible.

And why not? Vegetables are beautiful!  Soft curly lettuce leaves, rich purply salad greens, crisp spinach and stately broccoli stems line the rocky garden path. Tiny carrot seedlings encircle the hydrangea. Tomato and tomatillo plants cover a small earthen mound we had yet to landscape.  Onion starts dance merrily around the rose bushes.  Squash and cucumber vines will wind around below our landscaped native grasses.  Four blueberry bushes planted last fall are in full bloom and mark the boundary between the street and our yard.  We haven’t turned our front yard into a suburban farm. In fact, you’d hardly notice the vegetables between the tulips unless you were looking for them. But I feel the pride of a suburban farmer.

Our backyard vegetable box is getting good use too. Snap peas, bush beans, brussel sprouts, garlic, and leeks are growing in nice neat rows. In our backyard flower beds we planted a raspberry start, peppermint and spearmint plants, and the strawberries are coming back in full force. Cilantro is popping up from seed in a container on the deck. We aim to grow 3-4x what we have harvested in the past and, by using 3-4x the space we’ve planted in the past, we should be able to do just that.

Can you find the hidden vegetables in these shots of me and Grace in our yard?  Hints below.

Photo #1


Photo #2


Photo #3



Photo#1: Purple lettuce leaves along the path in front of Grace. Spinach growing on the other side of the path.

Photo#2: Onions to the left of Grace. Broccoli growing around the petunias to the right of Grace. Lettuce just beyond the tree stump.

Photo#3: Onions in the foreground, broccoli just beyond, then lots of lettuces and salad greens in the distance on opposite side of path. Yes, I am using sluggo in my yard. Those slugs devour my veggies if I don’t, and supposedly it’s non-toxic, biodegrades, etc. I certainly hope so.

1 Comment

  1. May 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Boy, Lorie was right, I DO like your site! Our 4 1/2 year old girl is Grace too! Though I don’t have edibles in the front yard, I have turned our little culdesack lot into a mini farm…raspberries, strawberries, zuccini, onions, lettuce, spinach, bok choi, peas, cilantro, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chamomile, pumpkin, acorn squash, asparagus, carrots, radishes, parsley, peppermint & spearmint…sounds like the produce department! Most of it is in raised beds, so I don’t have too much of a problem with slugs…but my mom grows an outstanding organic garden out in the Jewell/Mist area & she recently found an organic slug-bait. Thanks for the focus on how beautiful these plants really can be! Maybe we’ll start seeing them in front yards sooner than later.

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