Decade in Review: The front yard garden

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From 2004:

The joys of urban gardening. This summer has been very, very good to me with the rains and the not too hot heat. I've had a so-so yield of blueberries, decent output of tomatoes and the herbs I never eat are flourishing.
The problem with urban gardening, well gardening for me, is that I have a typical postage stamp yard. It could be worse, it could be smaller. I could have bought a bigger house, but it didn't have a yard. Not only is the yard small, it doesn't get a lot of "full sun". When I had the DC Agricultural Extention person out, yes, they'll come out, she wasn't hopeful about my gardening prospects. So I've been picky about what grows in the few areas of the tiny yard that gets the good dirt and the full sun.
When I first started digging for the garden you wouldn't believe the crap I found in the dirt. Besides the ten zillion bits of broken glass, reminants of an ugly red carpet, I have found money. Not silver dollars, (I wish) but dimes, nickels, good stuff.
After all that work, I wanted the plants to give back. No ornamentals for me. No. I want food producing plants. Also it is a cool thing to be cooking and walk outside and grab one of the ingredients. Neat.

Next year it will be 10 years of gardening from the front yard.

This year, growing in the front are a bunch of turnips that need to be offloaded to a certain relative, so I can make space for more turnips. There are some beets I should harvest, or should have harvested some time ago. It is just I have no desire for the beet greens. I'll look up something on Epicurious and have them tonight. I really want the beet roots if they haven't gone woody. In a pot I have some delicate red lettuces, hiding under a +&$@!** volunteer cherry tomato vine. This year I am more willing to cut the cherry tomato back so it doesn't take over 1/2 the yard. I'm also more willing to pull back the creeping thyme and the mint. Doing so I discovered more space. I have harvested some of the rather large spring onion types and used them in soups and tabouleh. A few nights ago I used them for a green onion trout dish that I just love. Beans are not doing too hot and the purslane is hit or miss. At one point it looks great and salad ready, the next moment, blah.

I have to smile looking at the old post and at what the person from the DC Extension Service had to say. I didn't say too much about what she said, but I remember that she didn't expect much to come from the front yard. I have managed to have a few good years of regular sized tomatoes. Lotsa of arugula when I wanted it. Leeks and spring onion when I managed not to kill the seedlings. Then there was the odd melon or cuke, peas, beets, turnips (Auntie LOVES the greens) and carrots. All that in a space around about 10x10, from a person who sometimes bothers to water, or plant. If I did nothing more at this point, or next year, the yard would be a carpet of mints and creeping thyme, a patch of arugula with a crazed volunteer cherry tomato plant.

Now if you're wondering how I got such a lively fruitful yard, I'll tell you it came from at least 2 years of hard work prepping the soil and various years of planting crap that would reseed ot take over, or both. I amended the soil with a good amount of sphagnum peat moss, my own compost (raw food scraps, shredder paper and worm poop), soils from Home Depot and some cool cocoa shell mulch from Behnke's.

It is still cool to be cooking and step outside for the ingredient.... but most of those are in the back yard.

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