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.

 

133 Comments

  1. Fara says:

    Hello Karen. Do you reuse your potting mixes. And if so, how do you dot it? The potting mixes I used this year to grow veggies, I don’t want to throw them out. I live in a condo and I do all my gardening in a balcony. I want to reuse my potting mixes next year. What nutrients and in what proportion should I add to it to make it usable next year for growing veggies? Also I am growing zucchini this year. What nutrients can I feed the plants?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fara! You can do a couple of things. You can either add a few inches of compost on top of the soil to give it nutrients, or add a powdered fertilizer. How much you use depends on which fertilizer you choose and how big of a planter you have. The instructions for use should be on the back of the bag or box. I use Gaia Green’s organic fertilizer and for a pot the ratio would probably only be around a Tablespoon just to give you an idea. ~ karen!

  2. Haley says:

    I love your front yard garden! I do have a question though- how do you feel about it in the off-months when nothing is growing in it? Is it just dirt? Or do you have ways to spruce it up until you can start growing again?

  3. Robin Gerardi says:

    Hi Karen, I stumbled onto your blog and once I picked myself up, I began reading article after article. I love what you have learned and I’m so excited to learn from your trial and error. We live in Abbeville, SC. We moved here from Newport, RI. The soul, or should I say clay is quite different and difficult! It is a learning curve. We put in all raised beds. I just wanted to thank you and tell you to keep planting and writing. You have encouraged me to keep up the fight. We have 1.5 acres. Thank you again, Robin

  4. Mary says:

    Karen–
    I love that you have a front yard garden. It’s a thing on my street. No hoidy-toidy HOA here to dampen what we can plant, so there are plenty of burlap sacks, bamboo poles, twine, sticks and creative trellises. Do you have peanut and bay leaf planting tutorials? I’ve never grown those…

  5. Candice says:

    Hi Karen!

    Today I bought lufa seeds on an adventurous whim and after I got home, it struck me that I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I’ve only seen lufa vines once in the Caribbean but had no clue how to take care of them. I’m glad I scoured the internet on how to grow them because lost count how many hours after finding your lufa article, here I am still reading your blog, even more inspired than ever to add more to my vegetable garden. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden, home and tips.

    • Karen says:

      Well thanks for commenting! FYI, I’ve graduated from my front yard vegetable garden to a much larger community plot. I’m all in, lol. ~ karen!

  6. Ras says:

    Looks awesome. How do you protect your veggies from critters?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ras. If you look at some of my more recent gardening posts (look in my menu header under “Garden” you’ll find all kinds of critter solutions. :) I’ve since added a 40’x 40′ community plot to my vegetable gardening life and have had to deal with everything from Mink to rabbits there. ~ karen!

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  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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