Carrots right out of the garden. iPhone photo.
Carrots right out of the garden. iPhone photo.

Back about 5 years ago, I was fed up with my horrific water bill. So… out went all the grass, roses, hedges, small decorative flowers and walkway in my front yard. In went a new fence, apple trees, lemon tree, raised bed garden boxes and decomposed granit patio and tan bark by the truck loads. Hello happy garden and happy home gardner. 

2010, our front yard is being transformed.
2010, our front yard is being transformed.
2010, our front yard is being transformed into our new garden space.
2010, our front yard is being transformed into our new garden space.

 Now most of the pictures I am posting were taken with my old point and shoot or my iPhone, some of the most recent will be from my Canon 6D. Please forgive the quality. 

2010
2010, start of square foot gardening.

For the first two years I choose to follow the rules of square foot gardening and the harvest was amazing and I honestly could not believe what a 4X4 square could grow. My husband (the love) built me three 4X4 raised boxes and one 2X8 bed and then one 2X3 bed. He also insisted that two compost bins be placed in the yard too because as soon as he saw what could be grown he knew the trash company was not getting all my hard work- it was going to be put back to good use.

2010
2010, six months after the boxes went in.

After the first two years I decided I wanted a few permanent plants in the garden such as lemon verbena, sage, rosemary, lavender, French thyme and tarragon. I’ve carefully placed these in corners or at the end of the long boxes mainly to create a good anchor and to help hold water, my husband also added a good amount of peet moss to the raised bed to help keep the moisture in and also to keep the soil temperatures up. I just went outside to take a soil temperature and one of my 4X4 boxes the soil temperature is at about 80 degrees. This is really good!

 

2012 raised bed garden
2012 raised bed garden

Every year it’s a little different in the garden but there are always tried and true vegetables: carrots, beets, kale, squash and pickling cucumbers. The one time of year my neighbors have a say in what I plant is mid winter and they always choose the french sweet pea seeds, the amazing fragrance keeps people who are walking by our home rooted to the spot, sweet pea fragrance is intoxicating and Steve, my husband built special trellises just for them in the garden. I honestly do not think my neighbors would forgive me if my yard was not spilling over with those delicate twisting and twirling tendril floral beauties.

My son and his lemon tree that grows flamingos.
My son and his lemon tree that grows flamingos.

Right now in my garden there are many fruit trees and citrus trees such as; Anna apple,  dorset apple, meyer lemon, Australian finger lime, pink lemonade lemon, Buddha’s hand, and Osborne fig. The list of herbs are; lemon verbena, sage, rosemary, chives, french thyme, tarragon, lavender, spearmint, mint, dill, basil, pineapple sage and a rose geranium. The vegetable list includes; carrots, corn, beets, kohlrabi, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, snow white tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, kale, Roma tomatoes, pumpkins and a few other self seeding tomatoes. 

2014 early spring harvest
2014 early spring harvest

I love harvesting vegetables and picking fruits or flowers for my friends, the above picture has been one of many hostess gifts I have brought recently to a few parties. The weather has been amazing so the come over for a BBQ invitations are steadily coming it. I’ve ordered from Ikea a few sets of bowls and I make sure to pack the bowl full of garden fresh treats. The look on the host or hostesses face when I present this garden bouquet to them is absolutely heart warming and priceless. 

My daughter and her sunflowers
My daughter and her sunflowers

I posted this picture on Instagram a few weeks ago. My Daughter Paige quietly snuck giant sunflower seeds into the box that has my sweet peas, sage, lemon verbena, rosemary and chives in it. Those sunflowers grew to over 16 feet tall and the amazing amount of sunflower seeds we harvested will keep my children quite happy over the summer as they perfect the art of cracking the seeds open and spitting out the shells on make shift distance marker on the ground. If they only were not allergic to watermelon we could have a watermelon seed spitting contest. Oh well. 

The garden in spring 2014
The garden in spring 2014

I love pic stitch, this was taken in April and I can not tell you how amazing it was to watch all of this food grow right in my front yard. On any given day I spend anywhere from 15- 30 minutes outside watering, pruning, harvesting or fertilizing the garden. My children love to help me pick the new plant seeds and figure out where to plant them in relation to what will the height be, does the new plant need sun or shade? What size will it grow to, will we need just one of these plants or could two work? All I know is this my children know where their food comes from and they have a say in it, what parent can have a issue with that? 

Take a look at your yard a really good and honest look. Do you have the ability to put a few boxes in or maybe a few containers for vegetables or fruit trees? If you do I can guarantee it will be one of the best investments you could make. Fresh grown food, a welcome addition in water conservation (getting rid of that water sucking grass) a food source for butterflies, bees and birds too. I can not wait to take out a good part of our backyard grass and put more raised beds in it. I hope you enjoyed the look into my other kitchen, my outdoor kitchen and if you have a question or would like to share your transformed yards please do. Have a great week.

Cheers!

 

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