Front Yard Vegetable Garden!
One Month Update

3 ½ months ago I decided to rip out all the shrubs and bushes in my front yard and plant a vegetable garden.  I got blisters and a weird rash.

2 ½ months ago I planted my seeds.  I got a sore back.

1 month ago things were starting to sprout.  I got excited.

Today, the garden is a real garden.   I got food.

 

I’m writing this monthly garden update to show you how much a garden can grow in just  30 days.  How you can go from cute little ornamental looking plants to big huge vegetables you can eat.  IN YOUR MOUTH!  IN A MONTH!

 

The first set of pictures was taken a month after planting (May 21st).  The second set of pictures, one month after that (June 20th).

 

 

Vertical Side By Side

 

Before

 

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Before 2

 

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A new addition to the left side of the yard is the burlap bag, which is housing a couple of sweet potato plants.  The bag is actually a white feed sack (you could use a fabric grocery sac) that I wrapped with a swath of burlap.  I’ve been waiting my whole blog life to be able to use the word swath.

More about the plastic on top later.

 

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And remember the Organic feed sacks I wrapped all my Christmas presents in last year?   One of them is now pregnant with sweet potato plants.  Not actual sweet potatoes at this point, just the plants.  And in fact “pregnant” might be implying the plants are a bit bigger than they actually are.  Truth is they really aren’t even showing yet.

 

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My sort of anaemic looking front walk 1 month ago.

 

Before 3

 

My lush front walk today.  It is swathed in plants.  Does that work?  I’m overdoing the swathed thing aren’t I?

 

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The right side of the house 1 month ago.  Note the tiny squiggle of a squash vine planted at the base of the rightmost pillar.

 

Before 4

 

The right side of the house today.

 

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The great big mass of squash isn’t only squash.  Beside it is a zucchini plant.  Which just happens to be growing zucchini.

Zucchini is famous for being the most prolific of vegetables.  It is the John Grisham of the vegetable world.   You know when zucchini have come into season because neighbours start locking their doors to prevent other neighbours from throwing bags of zucchini into the house.

 

Once the plant gets a bit bigger I’ll be making fried, cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms.

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That little guy in there is a squash.  Guess what?  2 days later the plant aborted him.  It’s an actual thing.  If the days are suddenly too hot, or too dry the plant will abort it’s vegetable babies.  And there’s  nothing you can do about it.

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The side yard is where I planted a mass of potatoes which you can’t see in the before picture on the left.

One month later you can definitely see them in the right hand “after” picture.  They are taking over.  They’re so big and aggressive I can actually identify them as left or right handed.

2

 

Before 5

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Tomatoes …

 

3

 

My first tomato.  No idea what kind it is. I forgot to label this one.  By the look of it I’m gonna *guess* Green Zebra.

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Buttercrunch lettuce.  Before and after.  In one month it grew to eating size, bolted and is now done.  It’s now ready to be pulled out, fed to the chickens and replanted.

 

4

 

Carrots.

 

5

 

Freckles romaine, leaf lettuces and some kale peeking out of the right hand corner.  All of these things can be picked continuously.  Just pinch the outermost leaves off about 1″ from the base of the plant and they’ll all keep growing and growing throughout the season.  You can do the same thing with Swiss Chard.

 

Before 8

 

Onions.  Red and Yellow.

 

Onions

 

Potatoes in peach basket.

Potaotes

7

 

I’ve moved my peach basket of Blue Russian potatoes to make way for a plot of sweet potatoes.  I am almost positive I’ve planted way too many sweet potatoes in such a small space.  But I couldn’t help myself.  How could I?

To get sweet potatoes to grow in a climate they aren’t really meant to be grown in all you have to do is make sure they have the conditions they’re used to.  They need HOT, dry soil.  And by dry I mean dry, as in not overly wet and bog-like.  Not parched.

To accomplish both of these things 1 – 2 weeks prior to planting sweet potatoes lay down a layer of black plastic.  I went all out and used dark thermal plastic meant especially for heating up soil.  I’m sure the plain black plastic would work fine too.

This thermal plastic will heat the soil underneath of it up at least 10 degrees.

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Before Left

 

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Before Right

 

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Do you remember the celery I planted just for fun in the topiary type container?  Just for fun?  Figuring it would die?    It is now twice as big as the celery that I have growing in the garden.  TWICE AS BIG.  Celery has shallow roots so it doesn’t need a big deep container, but I didn’t know how well it would do in such a small space.  It done good.

1

 

Finally a bit more of a comprehensive look at what’s in the garden.   Not included in the list are some things you can’t  see very well. Like celery and fennel and a bay leaf plant.  There’s arugula and garlic and a multitude of other things in different spots.

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Gealous?  Of my spelling?  Let’s try that again … Jealous?  Good.  You should be.  That’s the point of this.  To incite a vegetable riot in you.

Because you still have time.  This is how things exploded in a month.  And you could have your very own orgasmic vegetable explosion.

If you’re in a similar climate (zone 5-6) you can go outside right now and plant carrots, lettuce, beans, and more.  In the middle/end of August you can plant fall crops.  At that time you can plant Kale, beets, carrots, lettuces, broccoli, and turnip.  And I’m sure if I gave it some more thought … a lot more.

Wow.  There really wasn’t a single funny thing in this post was there.  Clearly I’m serious about my vegetables.  Especially the left handed ones.


121 Comments

  1. Ally says:

    Oooh I’m green with envy! Your vegetable yard looks absolutely FAB! 🙂

  2. Jody says:

    Peanuts? Come on now. You are talking fantasy to a Calgarian. Can I ask about fertilizer? Or is that a bad word? Your garden humbles me.

    • Karen says:

      Jody – No fertilizer at all. Just lots of sun, water and some witchcraft. A little bit of compost. And I’m not holding my breath for the peanuts, LOL, but I thought it’d be fun to try. ~ k!

  3. Leslie says:

    I thought swath was pretty darn funny. Nice job!

  4. EmilyM says:

    I am jealous (or gealous)! I planted 2 months ago and I have 2 measly little rows of vegetables growing. I’m still hoping they will come up, but I’m thinking not as they were supposed to sprout within 2 weeks and I’ve got natta.

    Beautiful garden!

  5. Stefanie says:

    Wow! Incredibly jealous and incredibly motivated! Feel free to send some zucchini my way, I make killer zucchini bars that taste just like apple pie!

  6. Kera says:

    I have carrot envy. I planted rows and rows of carrots. Three came up. Did you start with seed?

    • Karen says:

      Kera – I seeded the carrots outdoors in April. I didn’t think they were EVER going to come up. It was pathetic. I was in the same boat you were, then one day I looked and a bunch of them were randomly sprouting. Kindda scraggly, but they were there. Then a few weeks went by and I had all of these. A bunch of Mignon carrots I planted still haven’t really amounted to anything though. Carrots like to be kept warm, dark and moist so you’re supposed to cover them with a board or something until they germinate and sprout. I didn’t do this, but I will next year to see if it helps. ~ k!

    • Melissa says:

      My carrots are kinda lame, too. I even made carrot seed tape. I was proud… and now, just three little sprouts. I tried the board thing, too… although I noticed it was harboring bastard slugs, so I removed the board. Urgh!

    • karenagain says:

      My garden is looking all green and lovely except for two rows in the center where carrots should be. There’s nothing there. Nothing. I would be happy for even a couple scraggly ones just to prove that we didn’t forget to plant them.

  7. Zucchini story: As you already know zucchini is notorious for how many freaking zucchini you get from even one plant. I was working in TO and had my first veggie garden with it’s own handmade irrigation system and everything… I was trying to give zucchini away to anyone at work after I had made enough zucchini relish for everyone I knew for Xmas gifts when a friend told me her family zucchini story. Her mother planted zucchini and had run into the same insane quantities of this lovely but annoying veg. On one particular day Katies’ mom decided once and for all the zucchini plant had to be ripped out when she found her young daughter in the garden dressing the many zucchini in doll clothes! 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    My yard is swathed in gealousy! I’ll send you an amazing zucchini recipe for no grain bread.

  9. Alisha says:

    Aside from the fact that you have a yard at all, *sad face*, your zucchini flowers make me the most jealousest. I recently came across an amazing looking recipe for stuffed squash flowers – kind of like cabbage rolls – and I thought to myself “where will I ever find squash flowers in this concrete jungle?” But now I know the answer! A 5 hour flight East ought to do the trick!

    • Karen says:

      🙁 I’d send you some if I thought they wouldn’t die. But they will. If you go to a farmer’s market you’ll have a shot at finding some! ~ karen

      • Melissa says:

        The word on the street is that you can use day lily flowers in a similar fashion. Not only are they edible, but they have different culinary uses based on their state of growth. You can fry buds, thicken soup with the opened flowers, etc. My guess is you could take an emerging flower and gently open it to stuff with cheese and then bread and fry. They’d have a cool shape, too. And they grow like weeds, so there’s ample supply of the little buggers.

        • Karen says:

          Melissa – Realllyyy?? Wow. Never heard that one. And I have a ton of day lilies! Hmm. Hmmmmmmmm. 🙂 ~ karen

          • Shauna says:

            Squash flowers are also super delicious fried in a bit of olive oil and then put inside a super cheesy quesadilla. Makes eating a quesadilla far less of a guilty pleasure.

          • Melissa says:

            Karen, I used to top my carrot cakes with orange day lilies (and I ate them, too) but here is a link that suggests we can do more, including the idea to use them as you would squash blossoms: http://www.organicvalley.coop/recipes/features/wild-edibles/please-do-eat-the-daylilies/ (And it’s Organic Valley telling us it’s okay… that seems legit, right?) You’ll probably try it before I do, so maybe it can be an upcoming post 😀

            • Karen says:

              Melissa – LOL. Well … as you might expect I’ve already looked into eating day lilies. It took me all of about a half an hour to hear about it, research it, then reject it. I may look into it again, but there were too many sites that exclaimed that 5% of the population can’t eat daylilies and get horrible stomach pains, gas and nausea from them. So … I’m gonna stick with the squash blossoms for now. And when they run out … who knows. 🙂 ~karen

  10. katrina says:

    That is incredible AND beautiful!! Does it take a lot of time to maintain? My hat is off to you!

  11. SK Farm Girl says:

    Isn’t it the best feeling in the world when you can reap what you have sown in the garden patch?! I love taking pictures of the stages of the garden and am always completely awe-struck when there are huge, lush plants waiting to be devoured the adoring planter/weeder! Although I must say I am not impressed with whatever is eating my strawberries. I have a squirrel in the yard and think it may be him. The strawberries have actual little bit marks so I don’t think it’s the birds. I really don’t want to wage a war with the cute little squirrel, but . . . Had a big bowl of strawberries from the garden tonight and mmmmmmm were they good! Soon strawberry jam making! BTW, Karen your garden looks great. Speaking of great, you should be grateful that I live two provinces away otherwise I would be forced into raiding your front yard garden under the cloak of the night sky – LOL! Happy gardening!

  12. Gayla T says:

    I sure hope you are as proud of yourself as I think you are and you should double it. I can’t believe the research you have done to know just what every plant needs but then I thought about who you are and well, sure! My son-in-law picked his first tomatoes this evening. Kind of small but nice and red and juicy and a deluge to follow. Even with all my years of gardening it’s pretty amazing to see the difference in pics. So different from seeing it day by day. I love all the evidence of maternal instinct evidenced in your choice of words. Plants really do get to be your babies, don’t they? Pa would be proud of you, half pint.

  13. Molly says:

    Wow! Your vegetable garden is incredible! I always wanted one too and this really encourages me to give it a go. 🙂 🙂

    Maybe I’ve got a tip for you. In August/ September you could sow corn salad/ lambs’s lettuce (you know, the one that caused Rapunzel all the trouble). If you’re early, you may well harvest some in autumn but the main crop you’ll have in late winter/ early spring. What you can’t eat you just dig in. It’s a great green manures, too. (I’m zone 6/7 dropping to 5/6 the last three years)

    And here’s a recipe for a garlic-zucchini-soup: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-zucchini-1-32520

    You can easily double or triple it. It freezes very well.

  14. Sickening Karen, abs AND green thumbs.

    • Karen says:

      Tricia – If it’s any consulation my abs are kindda mushy now and I found a brown spot on my lawn. ~ karen

  15. Susan says:

    Wow, uber jealous! Our zucchini is doing well also, but carrots and lettuce struggling. Not sure if we planted poor seed for the lettuce? Love the yard transformation, has me thinkin’ for next year. Please post your stuffed zucchini flower recipe!

  16. Lisa says:

    I think you might have to start a zucchini recipe of the week or something to help us all with our over abundance! Your garden is gorgeous and the peanuts took me by surprise as well! I was surprised how it seemed like my garden blew up over night, but the heat really has stuck around in Northwest Indiana and my plants are lovin’ it! Keep updating us – I can’t get enough!

  17. Belinda says:

    garden looks fab! Sometimes the baby squash drop off the vine because they haven’t been fertilised – especially if it’s not quite warm enough for lots of bees to do the job. I try to make sure the first couple of squash that appear on my plants get a bit of a helping hand and do some artificial insemination of my own! Pick a male flower (they’re the ones without a fruit on the base, obviously!) and put the centre of it into the centre of your female flower, a wee bit of flower sex, without any mess 😉

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Belinda. I wondered if that could have been the problem as well. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a ton of bees this year around the plants. 🙁 ~ karen

      • shannydee says:

        hey karen, ab’soul’lutely love your site…gets me into trouble tho…’are you coming to bed yet’?? well at least i’m only flirting with you ! [your site does turn me on] baahahaha.
        anyway, yes we are really having a bee shortage and monarch butterflies… everyone on your site would know that they are one of mothers life lines….. please everyone , plant milkweed for the monarchs. and let some of the dandelions and clover grow for a bit.
        Karen your pictures are gorgeous and your whole yard looks so lovely. I suppose you have an ‘old’ rockin’ screen door… my next project….
        happy Can ‘eh’ da day everyone… peace out…

  18. Your planning is so evident because the result is beautiful and comprehensive in the scope of plants. Everything looks so healthy. About how many hours a week are you spending on the garden now? Do you have more than you can eat?

    • Karen says:

      Deboarah – I can’t really tell how much time I spend outside in the garden. I work inside writing/working on this here blog, and when I need a break I go out and wander around. So it feels like a break to me, not a chore. Mainly I just wander around and look at stuff, checking the plants for disease and bugs. So far I’ve had to battle striped cucumber beetles (which was quite the war) and a bit of powdery mildew. So far so good on the portioning of it all. Until the zucchini hits that is. ~ karen!

  19. cred says:

    I am so jealous, too! You do this taunt us, I know it. But with your urging I will try again. Germination was crap in our area this year- I heard that from a full-fledged farmer so it not just an excuse.
    A tip about the zucchini (or other cucurbit)- they have male & female flowers on the same plant, more female than male. The female has a bulge at the base (which becomes the fruit) and the male does not. The female flower must be pollinated or the fruit will not mature and will abort. When you only have one plant, it means that the chances of an insect pollinating your plant is limited since there are days when you may not even have a male flower on your single plant.
    Your best bet is to pollinate it yourself with a small paint brush to make sure that male is put to good use while he’s around. I did this one year with a Jack-be-little pumpkin plant (I didn’t have the room for a whole pumpkin patch).
    Would love you to share the how-to on preparing squash blossoms. I’ve always wanted to try them.

    • Karen says:

      Cred – Thanks! I know the bit about the girl / boy flowers. 🙂 And I have 2 zucchini side by side and 3 squash in one hill. But the bees aren’t flying around like crazy yet, so I may start to self pollinate. ~ karen!

  20. Gealous, for sure! It looks wonderful! I’m considering hacking up my small backyard and putting in a vegetable garden along the perimeter. Yay!

  21. Karen says:

    Amazing. You have such great design instincts! Wouldn’t it be awesome if your whole neighborhood ripped up their front lawns and made veggie gardens too! Good job Karen!

  22. Langela says:

    Nice garden. Glad everything is coming along good for you. I plan on planting chard and beets today in the garden where I had onions until the wind took them out prematurely.

  23. Mary Kay says:

    Love the garden Karen! Ours is growing well too except for some pesky varmit that ate the leaves off of my green bean plants! Our local nursery told me to cut the tops of my onions that it will help them to grow bigger. I have done it we will see. Do you know if it will make a difference? And one other qustion – we have planted broccoli and cauliflower but the leaves are turning a yellow color any reason as to why? THANKS!

    • Karen says:

      Mary Kay – I have *never* heard of cutting the tops of the onions off. Generally speaking you remove the leaves of a plant and the tips of the plant to stop it from growing more green and encourage it to produce more/bigger fruit. But onion tops? Never heard of that. Who knows! Yellow leaves can be caused by a ridiculous number of things so it’s hard to say. It could be too much water, not enough water, stress on the plant from suddenly hot or cold days, a soil imbalance … My guess would be you’ve had a lot of rain lately and that’s the reason. But … that’s just a guess. ~ karen!

  24. Cindy G. says:

    Wow! It looks amazing! I’m totally jealous of your growing space. I don’t have enough sun in my yard to do anything like that. A few container pots is all I could manage. And, after seeing your container plants, next year I’m definitely going to give them a go! I can’t wait to see what you make with all of your harvested veggies…

  25. It is so amazing what you have done with your beautiful patch of yard. I have 1.5 acres and I let the weeds take over so I have green EVERYWHERE! I did do a potato basket using half of a 55 gallon food grade barrel. It is doing just fine. I noticed there is a tree on each side of your garden that is bare of leaves. Are you using them as trellises? I have a few around here that I’m thinking of stringing with lights to add to their stark, natural beauty. Can’t wait for next episode of “Karen’s Garden.”

    • Karen says:

      Cindy – Those are actually Yew branches stripped of their needles. We ripped a huge Yew bush out to do the front yard garden and I saved a few branches to use a trellises for the peas. I just cut 1″ PVC pipe to about a foot long, hammered it into the earth and then stuck the branch in it to hold it steady. The peas grew up it. Now the peas are done and I have bare branches again. ~ karen

  26. AmieM says:

    You’ve done there got yourself a vege-atable jungle! You done good, girl, you done good.

  27. Janet says:

    I have never grown sweet potatoes. What’s the secret to that? Have you written a blog post about it? (I suppose lazy me could do a search…)

    I love the garden explosion!

  28. Sebette says:

    Lovely, lovely and yummy. And makes a beautiful yard to boot. After my next comment you can throw that boot at me. I see bare ground and weeds etc love bare ground-mulch, mulch, mulch. Hay. Straw. Helps with retaining moisture too.
    Throw the boot, I’ll duck.

    • Karen says:

      Sebette – I thought about throwing down some straw (and a boot at you) but for me it will look too messy. I go out a few times a day and pick a few weeds so it’s always under control. Besides, some of the bare spots you see are actually patches I’ve seeded turnip and rutabaga! Now get out of here before I throw another boot at you. ~ karen

  29. I didn’t plant a thing this year. Not one thing. Sooooo, if you happen to come outta your house one morning,and there are a few carrots missing….I really can’t say where they went.
    P.s. Did you know that if you eat too many carrots, your skin will turn orange. Yup. Been there. Done that. Got the orange poster.
    Lynne xx

  30. gogothrift says:

    so Karen,I’m dying to know what your neighbors’ reaction is to your front yard veggie garden. First when you dug it all up and now, when it’s unbelievably lush and bountiful. Around these parts veggies belong in the back yard, flowers in the front!!

    • Karen says:

      Gothrift – Everyone is in love with my front yard vegetable garden. I’m surprised actually. I *do* live in that kind of neighbourhood though. Artists, hippies, all around forward thinkers. Every single day when I’m outside working on the garden people walking past stop to talk about it and how much they like it. I’m sure no one would stop to say Hey, I Hate your garden … but I really don’t think anyone dislikes it. ~ karen

  31. Debbie says:

    Amazing veggie yard!! I planted for the first time ever… 2 tomato plants in their own containers. I will be excited if I get to have one fresh tomato!

  32. Kristen S says:

    Karen, do you hand pollinate your squash?
    I have zucchini flowers, but no fruit so far.

  33. anna says:

    it looks so awesome!!

  34. Karen, not only does the garden look terrific, the FRONT LAWN looks terrific! It’s every bit as attractive as flowers and shrubs. I especially like the lettuce planted beside the walk just outside the porch so, if it’s pouring rain, you don’t have to go too far for supper salad.
    One question – what are the two dead trees? Are they support for something? (Is that two questions?)

    • Karen says:

      Susan – Yes, those are pea shrubs I featured in an earlier post. They’re branches from one of the bushes we pulled out to make this garden. I’ve put them in the dirt to use as pea trellises. ~ karen!

  35. Shirley says:

    When I saw that cute blackboard sign, my first thought was that you were planning on setting up a farm gate operation, somewhere down the road (as it were). I love farm gates with their fresh-from-the-ground produce and flowers and honey and eggs, not to mention the good, old-fashioned honesty and trust involved. Such a nice thing all around.
    Then I enlarged the picture and saw that in addition to those first three intriguing varieties, you’re also offering “scalloped tomatoes.” Are you pulling our collective leg here, Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Shirley – LOL. NO, that’s a real sign. The fella’s son is 9 and I had so many tomato seedlings at the beginning of the season I told him he could sit at the end of the front yard and well them for $2 each to anyone passing by. He sold 20 seedlings or so in one weekend. Take THAT lemonade stand. And scalloped tomatoes are a real thing. They’re also called pleated tomatoes. They’re all wiggly and weird looking. ~ karen

  36. Lisa says:

    Plant some dill for the butterflies!! and no basil? Not too late!

    • Karen says:

      Lisa – Holy crap .. there’s all kinds of basil. Probably just didn’t label it. It’s right under the tomatoes. About 5 plants in all grown from seed. ~ karen

  37. Laura says:

    The thing I love most about this is that unless you notice that the plants are actually producing edible things, they look like something you’d plant just to enhance the look of your yard. I love when beauty and functionality happen….and all the colors! Who would’ve ever thought to actually decorate your front lawn with plants that give something in return?!

    Karen would.

  38. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    You had a great vision. Practical and beautiful.

  39. Leona says:

    I so needed this! I’ve been transitioning to edible landscaping as well not as aggressively as this as we also have Wooden Apple Bins for a raised bed in the back to save my back.

    I ramble… point is, you’ve expanded my imagination to include many more plants in the landscaping than I had originally intended! We’re already way behind for planing much new this year but next? Watch out! 😉 Thanks!

  40. Salomé says:

    So gealous of your yard. So gealous of your peenuts! Well done Karen!

  41. olemike says:

    Nice! Great pictures.

  42. Samantha says:

    Im so jealous! I’m having such a hard time with my garden this year.

  43. Elen Grey says:

    It is a work of art. As beautiful as any perennial bed, but you can EAT it. Wahoo!

  44. Trish says:

    So I love what you’ve done with the place, looks amazing. Always an inspiration (my husband kind of sorta hates you for that;). Could you tell me more about what you’ve got going on with your potatoes? I’ve got a potato container that is now filled to the top with soil and the plant is well over a foot past the top of the container. I love the idea of wrapping the container with chicken wire and adding more soil. Is that the concept that you are going for here with the hay? To allow the potatoes to continue to grow and produce even after its out grown your container? If so, what do you think about shredded newspaper in place of hay?

    • Karen says:

      Trish – My potatoes are an experiment. I’m trying a variety of ways to grow them including the chicken wire and additional straw you mentioned. I’m curious as to whether I will get more potatoes than the ones where I only have the regular amount of soil/straw in the baskets. I’ve done the straw thing in both baskets and on the ground. Shredded newspaper won’t work I don’t think because it will absorb to much water and just turn to mush. You can buy a bale of straw at a feed store for around $4. Also, a lot of times if you don’t need a whole bale, they’ll let you just take all the loose stuff on the ground around their straw pile. But, be warned. One basket filled with straw like you see on my page takes a lot more straw than you would think! You have to pack it in quite hard to make sure the potatoes have something to grow in and to ensure no light gets through to turn the potatoes green. ~ karen!

      • Trish says:

        Thanks, you’re awesome. Figured newspaper wouldn’t work, just needed it confirmed. I’ll definitely look into the hay, just have to locate a feed store…

        • Karen says:

          Trish – Not hay. Straw. You have to make sure you get straw. Hay is what horses eat, straw is what they bed in. ~ karen!

          • Trish says:

            I know, I know, I know…I’m a big fan of interchanging words. I find it keeps people on their toes 😉 (thats what I’m going with anyways)i.e. wheel instead of tire, road instead of driveway. Just some of the many examples of my improper use of words. Thank you for the correction.

  45. Shauna says:

    Everything looks so great. I just love the front yard vegetables – just as beautiful as non-eating plants.

    We have officially been inspired by you and finally planted our garden about 2 weeks ago. Tomatoes, corn, squash, carrots, sweet peppers, spinach, cucumbers, watermelon, eggplant, basil, etc.

    So far, everything is coming up very pretty. We’ve cordoned it all off and the chickens aren’t getting in, so far so good.

  46. Natalie says:

    Wow! You are awesome and inspirational! This is fantastic and you should be very proud. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and passing on motivation!

  47. marilyn says:

    AMAZING!!

  48. Sophie says:

    Please, please tell me more about the tomato trellis…it deserves its own post!

  49. Danee says:

    You will need a shotgun to keep neighbors from pinching your crops! Very nice indeed, I would pinch from your garden if I was there!

  50. Cheryl from Quebec says:

    Hi Karen,

    This is my first time ever writing to a blogger. I LOVE your site. I find myself laughing out loud at my computer, even coming to tears one day (your hot pepper in the eye fiasco). I have two friends who are trying their hand at growing sweet potatoes for the first time. I just shared your tip using the plastic and they both wondered how you water them if they are covered. Can you enlighten us please.

    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cheryl from Quebec – I’m honoured. See how I spelled honoured? That’s ’cause I’m Canadian too. So. The sweet potatoes. You cut slits into the plastic to insert your sweet potato slips and enough water gets in there to water them. They also get remnant water from the surrounding soil. Also, the plastic mulch keeps the moisture in. So even WITH the plastic on top of the soil the sweet potato soil is always wetter than the rest of the garden. ~ karen!

  51. Leigh says:

    Love your blog! Here’s a link to a zucchini “apple pie” recipe that fools even the zucchini haters!! Something I had never thought about before our neighbors abundant harvest.
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/zucchini-apple-pie/

  52. Eleanor says:

    Great Job. Well done.

  53. Jan says:

    How many hours of sunlight does your garden receive? I think we have a suitable area but I am not sure.

    • Karen says:

      Jan – Vegetables need a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight. 8 hours is best. More hours is better. 🙂 ~ karen

  54. Cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms?? What?? My mouth is watering! Beautiful, beautiful work! And, don’t tell me it’s not, cuz I know!! 🙂

  55. gloria says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Kudos, Karen. Great job.

    I too was inspired to rip out part of my yard this year and make room for veggies. I decided the froo froo English cottage garden that the previous owner put in to lure unsuspecting (or suspecting, in my case, I’m a born skeptic) buyers. I knew it was all curb appeal, and it did work. I bought the house after all. It was pretty but not at all practical. And she had not planned well. Many of the perennials were in the wrong places.

    So…RIP. I put in some little raised beds for lettuces, peppers, and cinnamon basil. And along the outside of the fence, I put in a raised bed of birdhouse gourds. A teepee for the pole beans, a twig fence for the nasturtiums and zinnias (have to have flowers in amongst the veg.) A big ‘ol beefsteak tomato plant. And galvanized tubs for zukes, sage, and cherry tomatoes.
    All this done the week before I had my left knee replaced with a shiny, new bionic one. (I can only hope it was shiny and new prior to being crammed in after taking out the yucky old one.)

    Now I sit in a lawn chair and water it, the garden not the knee, and watch it grow, again, the garden not the knee. Photos? Of garden? Not the knee.

    ~gloria

  56. lemur_lass says:

    I am very envious (in a good way) of your garden. We did many of the same things at the same time, yet my cucurbits are not nearly as large as yours. I think I am not watering enough.

    I was hoping you might share how you actually removed your Yews. I have several I need to remove and would appreciate any insight you gained. They are in every yard here in Cleveland and I HATE them.

    • Karen says:

      Well to be honest with you, I had the fella remove the Yew, LOL. I trimmed off the majority of the branches then he came in with a saw and chopped it into pieces. After that he dug the stump out (which I think was easier than we thought it would be) and I went in after him and pulled the remaining roots up. That’s it! Oh! And regarding the squash and zucchini … I think they’re just in a spot they really like. My neighbour complained that hers were only about a quarter of the size of mine (and she got 2 of her plants from me, so they’re the exact same plants) ~ karen

  57. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Wow Karen..Are you sure you never planted a veggie garden before??? You need to seriously give yourself a BIG pat on the back..My two raised beds are a little behind due to my surgery but they seem to be growing nicely thanks to my fella helping out when I couldn’t do much but supervise while he planted..Isn’t it great when you can walk outside and pick fresh food from your garden..Way better than anything in the grocery store..I am curious about one thing..That is how does the wind affect onions???

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – Wind? Onions? I’m confused. It’s not exactly my first vegetable garden, but thanks! It *is* my first at this house and my first with this large a variety of vegetables all at once! It’s great. I LOVE it. For now anyway. I’m sure by August I’ll be ready to pack everything up and buy all my food at the variety store. ~ karen

      • Nancy Blue Moon says:

        Eep. Half of my onions bolted. Mostly the red ones. Stupid onions. Stupid wind. Quote from Karen!!!

        • Jayme says:

          Nancy, Next time you plant onions, no matter whether red, white or yellow, break the green stalks off, (no need to cut, just bend them over) to keep them from bolting. The energy that the stalks take to grow take away from the onion bulb. Just keep bending them over as the stalks grow and the onions won’t flower and the bulbs will grow big.

  58. Alex says:

    Looks gorgeous! It’s painful when you have to pick the salads and there’s this empty spot screaming for a replacement.

  59. Bonnie says:

    I am envious of your garden–we have too much shade to plant very much, but we are glad for the shade since we live in the south. I cooked some Swiss Chard yesterday (that a neighbor had grown) and it was delicious. I fried a few strips of bacon, then threw in some sweet onion and garlic and a little olive oil for a few minutes, then put the chopped chard leaves, a little white wine, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce. Even my veggie-suspicious husband went back for seconds.

  60. Heather says:

    I love you Karen. You Rock. Way to inspire everybody!

  61. Candice says:

    I cannot get over how amazing this is! You have basically planted my dream garden! I love reading your blog – you’re amazing!

  62. Cheryl says:

    Love it! I had all my foundation landscaping plants ripped out last year and can’t afford to replace them. What was I thinking? I guess I wasn’t, but today I am visualizing, visualizing, visualizing. Tomorrow I’ll show your pics to my husband. Please pray that the eye-rolling won’t last too long.

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Good luck. The only thing you have to think about is the winter. I’m still wondering what I’m going to do to make it appealing in cruddy, cruddy winter. Don’t tell him that though. ~ karen!

  63. Aly says:

    Your whole yard is STUNNING. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m not jealous about having home grown veggies to eat but for how pretty your yard is! Actually I am jealous of you eating the veggies too.

    I have a black thumb and kill most plants, so I am thinking about maybe planting zucchini? I also love to eat it, so win-win, if I can keep it alive. Although it may be too late to plant this year (I live in Maine so I think my climate is kinda like yours). I need to google.

    Anyhoo – GORGEOUS YARD!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Aly! If you have a black thumb and you’re in Maine go with some lettuces right now (partial shade is O.K. if it’s really hot out) and some radishes and beets later on. Not much can go wrong with any of those things. No bugs, no disease … just vegetables. ~ karen

  64. Winegirl says:

    Absolutely incredible, especially for your first year! Great planning leads to better chance at success. I am getting ready for my second round in the garden. Time to reseed for my second harvest. Congrats!

  65. Anemone says:

    Your garden is indeed beautiful. The carrots look great. I am now going to plant carrots. I wasn’t going to but you said it was not late. I really really can’t wait to see how you pull out or dig out your sweet potatoes.

  66. Patteta says:

    Karen, I just found your site and have garden envy. Love your sense of humor. What a great informative site that makes me laugh, too! I’m wondering if you made your fantastic bamboo trellis or bought it. Beautiful. It’s exactly what I need. I covet your trellis. I already have some bamboo and was putting off making a trellis with them because it would just be ho-hum. Yours is an eye-catcher. I’ve now got a shortcut to your site and will check it every day.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Petteta! You’re right to think I may have made the bamboo trellis because that’s exactly the sort of stupid thing I would do. However, I didn’t. I bought it for half price from my local garden centre. Wouldn’t be worth it to make it. I think it was around $10, it looks good and works really well. I post every day (other than Sundays) so if you want to keep up, sign up through email. You’ll be emailed every time there’s a new post. 🙂 ~ karen

  67. Elaine says:

    Have really enjoyed reading your posts. I’m an erstwhile gardener myself in hot Central Texas, and although we’ve already had several 100-deg days, my few plants and veggies are doing fairly well. Future goal is to plant only VERY HARDY plants that enjoy blistering sun and drought conditions. So far, so good.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elaine – Believe it or not the temperature is the same here in Southern Ontario, Canada. Albeit only with the addition of the humidity. It is H O T! ~ karen

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