Front Yard Vegetable Garden! Revealed.

It’s done. Kind of. Actually it’s not done. A vegetable garden is never really “done”. It’s what’s known as a constant work in progress.

So, more preciesely, it’s done more than the last time you saw it.

I welcome you to (but keep your paws off my vegetables) my Front Yard Vegetable Garden.

Front W- Rose

As you can see, I ended up leaving some grass.  I went back and forth about whether or not to have grass but finally ended up deciding, even though I know it uses up a lot of water, it’s a lot of work and prone to up and dying … I like it.  I mean, those things don’t stop me from owning pets so ….  I’d like to introduce you to my newest pet; Blade.

It adds a nice amount of green and it’s soft on  my feet.   Plus it plain old looks pretty.


If you read this, you know the baskets all around are filled with seed potatoes.
Whole Front 2


The left side of the garden has radishes, beets, Kale, spinach, swiss chard, all kinds of lettuces, herbs, peas, fennel and to the far left, a couple of the heirloom tomatoes I grew.  Unlike regular tomatoes from the garden centre the heirlooms will grow very tall.  Heirloooms are “indeterminate” which means their height and size isn’t pre-determined.  Most garden centre tomatoes have been hybridized and genetically altered to make them “determinate”.  A specific size that they grow to and then stop.  I knew heirlooms could grow very tall, but was shocked, stunned and kind of frightened when a reader commented that hers had grown to 14 feet. That’s not a tomato.  That’s a character in a Brother’s Grimm story.


Of course the height is determined a little bit by the length of your growing season.  So hopefully mine won’t go too far past the 6 ft bamboo tee pee I’m supporting them on. Eep.

Front Left


You’ve probably noticed my wooden board in other pictures.  Because I only have access to my garden from one side, I’ve left strips of soil that aren’t planted with anything.  I can then lay the board down onto any of those strips and stand on it to weed and pick the vegetables all around me.  Otherwise I’d be stomping down and compacting the soil.  Works great.

Front Centre


The right side of the garden also has radishes, beets, peas and swiss chard.  Then there’s carrots, zucchini, acorn squash, potatoes, and a spot where sweet potatoes will go once the soil gets a bit warmer.

Right Front


This I am proud to announce is my first pick from the garden.  A French Breakfast Radish  as grown from seed.  (purchased from Cubits)



The entire outside of the garden is still filled with perennials like roses, phlox, lavender and other english garden staples.  BUT …

Side Through Picket


I’ve also filled in areas with rows of a variety of potatoes.  They’re planted in baskets and right in the soil.

Side From Back


Seriously.  Wherever I could shove a basket of potatoes I did.  In this case the potatoes have lupins on one side, peonies on the other and …

Potatoes &amp ;- Peas


Peas right behind it.



The general look of the garden is organized but not pretty, perfect, cutsie.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it is to come out and see how much everything has grown overnight.  In a few more days I’ll have more radishes to pick and the lettuce is just about ready to use tiny bits in salads.

I’M FREAKING OUT.  It’s so very, very exciting.


Front 2


I grew 80% of the plants myself from seed, like the heirloom tomatoes.  The two at the front are Black Krim (a dark, almost black tomato) and Costoluto Genovese (a large irregular shaped, scalloped tomato).

Tomato Cages


As the tomato grows I’ll just loosely tie it to the tee pee to keep it from toppling.

Black Krim Tomato


The basil I grew from seed … the parsley I did not.



This big, puff of a bee was with me ALL day.  He didn’t bug me, I didn’t bug him.  It worked out.



Bee Close Up


Buttercrunch lettuce.  Grown from seed.



Mixed heirloom carrots.  Seeded in garden in April.



Freckles Romaine lettuce.  Seeded in garden in April.

Freckles Romaine


Red and Green leaf lettuce.  Seeded in garden beginning of May.

Leaf Lettuces



Left From Above



Right From Above


Red and yellow onions.  Planted from dutch sets in April.



MY POTATOES ARE ALREADY GROWING!!!  Planted in baskets beginning of May.



French Breakfast radishes.  One of the many radish types I’m growing.  Direct seeded into garden in April.


Whole Front


And finally … one of the plants I bought at the nursery ’cause I just couldn’t help myself.  I love growing everything from seed, but there’s comes a time in gardening when you’re sick of waiting and you want some INSTANT gratification.  I got it in the form of celery.

Celery 1


I planted the majority of it in the garden, but decided to throw this one in a topiary cage.  Just for fun.  It’ll probably die.

Celery 2


But until then … I will sit, relax and enjoy looking at it.

Celery 3


This isn’t  every plant I’ve stuck in the ground, but the majority of them.  I also have jalapeno peppers, green chile peppers, zucchini, a few more tomato plants, a bunch of acorn squash, some fennel (did I already mention the fennel?), and the plant I’m probably most excited about … a Bay Laurel.  Yup.  Growin’ my own bay leaves.

This long weekend in Canada I got everything planted other than the Sweet Potatoes which I’ll put in next weekend when the soil has warmed up a bit more.  And then … it’ll be done.

Wait.   No it won’t.  I already explained that.

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  1. Your garden looks so nice and neat. How large of a lot do you have? I am afraid that mine is a mess compared to yours. I invite you to check out my blog. I love the idea of growing your potatoes in the baskets. Were you able to find them used or did you have to buy them new? I found you through Pinterest. Nancy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy – My front lot is quite small. If I remember correctly my growing space is apx. 110 square feet. The baskets are peach baskets which I got from my local produce market for free! Good luck with your garden. :) ~ karen!

  2. I know you have a house Karen, but somehow your vegetable garden makes me realise you really are an adult! Love it!

  3. Amy says:

    Beautiful! I would also be very excited to have that lovely, cutesy, very nicely organized and happily growing garden. Good job!

  4. How lovely! Can’t wait to see how everything is growing soon. I wish I had the nerve to plant in my front yard instead of hiding in the back. I suppose I just don’t want anyone to see how bad of a gardener I am. ;)

  5. Jessica says:

    LOVE the teepee trellis. Very cool

  6. I LOVE how this is coming along! Wondering where all of the squash varieties are going to grow (those things get BIG), but it’s looking gorgeous! And very homey.

    And now I have to go plant some sweet potatoes. Because that sounds freaking awesome.

    • Karen says:

      Natalie – I’m pretty excited about the sweet potatoes. If they don’t work out I’ll probably dive into a deep depression. Where/how I’m growing my squash is a secret. Once It looks purdy and proves itself to WORK, I’ll show it. ~ karen

      • Oooh, a secret? I can’t wait to find out! In years past, those bad boys have taken over though. There have been summers where I have had to ding dong ditch zucchini on people’s doorsteps, they got so out of control.

        My white whale this year is cantaloupe. I tried it last year, and it died, but I know plenty of people grow it successfully in Zone 5.

        I’ll be right there with ya on the big garden project though. I have this massive undertaking going on right now.

        And the maples just dropped all of their little a-hole helicopters, so pulling baby trees out of the garden will be a top priority for awhile. You wouldn’t happen to have any brilliant weeding tricks, would you?

        • Karen says:

          Mmmmm. Don’t bother to get manicures? Does that count as a tip? Love your hair by the way. And I took a look at the retirement garden project. Yup. It’s a big one! Nice beds. :) ~ karen

  7. Winegirl says:

    Hey Karen,
    Exceptional job! Here in the states, some subdivisions do have by-laws against gardens. (Stupid by-laws.) Friends got by that by planting veggies in among their flower beds and it looked gorgeous. Tightly spaced colorful peppers look great. Because I seed so much extra lettuce, I make hanging lettuce baskets and give to friends. They can hang on a porch or in the kitchen for that “fresh-picked” taste… lol!

    • Karen says:

      I was angered by the “no chickens” by-law in my municipality. I would have thrown a big, old fashioned FIT if someone said something as stupid as “you can’t plant vegetables where other people can see them”! I got my first 2 bowls of salad lettuce last night! A mixture of pretty much everything. It was great. ~ k!

  8. Shauna says:

    I’m so jealous and inspired all at the same time. And, a bit overwhelmed. Your site is like Pinterest. I love everything. Want to try it all. Get all excited about how I can do it now that I have instructions/motivation…Then, I realize I barely have time to do laundry, so when do I have time for all of this fun stuff. I really need to figure out how to be a homemaker, so I don’t have to work and my husband can come home to all sorts of cool projects I’m working on;)

  9. Kristen says:

    What do you do if your peas get a bit sunburnt? Anything you can do to revive them? They are sad looking and limp and are whiteish tinged. I have watered and shaded them with an umbrella for a day in hopes they would revive, but they’re looking sadder. Is it time to replant?

  10. Marion says:

    Your garden is amazing! And what is more amazing is that you are proving to people that gardens can be beautiful, functional and 100% urban! Great job, I’m sure you and the fella (and all your neighbors) will have plenty of wonderful goodies all summer.

  11. Debbie says:


  12. Jan says:

    Yay, I can see ALL the comments! No problem with deer or moose? I have to grow most of my veggies in containers. Experimenting with a 17 foot sunflower this year. Last year, we had a successful crop of eggplants under our mailbox. The leaves were so lush it actually looked nice and some Japanese striped eggplants were both delicious and decorative.

  13. Heather says:

    Amazing job Karen! I knew you would be able to pull off a beautiful front yard garden. Hopefully you are starting a trend. And my first veggies were radishes as well. Have you ever tried radish pickles? I am thinking of trying them……Congrats on a job well done!

  14. Janet says:

    Great job!!!!!! With all you’ve planted think you’ll be feeding the whole neighbourhood this summer. What’s even better is when that first knock comes at your door from a neighbour that forgot to buy something at the store. Your work has just begun think keeping up with the weeds and canning will be the next thing your going to be dealing with.

    • Karen says:

      Janet – Not true. Sadly … I have *many* things I’ll be dealing with before those things, LOL. ~ karen!

  15. ev says:

    Adding this late Tuesday night. Your garden is great! The grass
    does look good–good call. I thought the definition of determinate/indeterminate tomatoes meant they all come ripe at once or come on now and then, sort of as it goes. Maybe Burpee was “indeterminate” about this! Thanks for the great pics karen. We’ll all be over for the eatin’!

  16. kelli says:

    Beautiful, abundant and impressive! You and the fella are going to be eating and eating and eating for months! Very cool. Very yummy.

    Did I mention very impressive? :)

  17. Rebecca says:

    Your garden is beautiful! I am very jealous of your front yard.

  18. lori says:

    WOW Karen it is looking great!!! i have a question thou…. why are you growing your potatos in basketes?? just wondering,i just did my n the ground. I had not planed on doing a garden but i have gotten a lot of volunteers. tomatoes and potatoes so far but i have other things coming up but just don’t know what they are yet.! HAHA

    • Karen says:

      Lori – I’m planting potatoes a variety of ways to see if any one of them works best. Baskets are a good way to keep them contained and make them easier to harvest. Also, I’m going to mound them up with straw instead of dirt which’ll make the potatoes nice and clean. You can squish a basket in anywhere, PLUS you can move them around if they aren’t getting enough sun. So there you go. Those are my reasons. ~ karen!

  19. Alex says:

    Thank you, I had NO intention of growing potatoes. Apparently now I do. But my logical side says that maybe I should just get to planting stuff considering it’s almost June. That looks awesome!

  20. Amber says:

    This is awesome, and I’m betting I could pull this off in my town, where front-yard veggie gardens are not allowed. Since you left grass and sort of placed veggies where other people might place flowers, I think I could get away with it.

  21. sera says:

    Wow! this is amazing! I guess I’m going to have to plant some radishes because that is some fast turn around! did you have to do something special to them?
    I have grown tomatoes for the last two years and despite my brown thumb and two horrible Seattle summers, all of my plants easily exceeded 5′ tall. Not only are they ugly, but this year I completely gave up on those piddly tomato cages and I’m building a bamboo box structure to help them out. We’ll see how it goes!

  22. Chau says:

    Great job, Karen. You don’t do anything half way, do you? Anyway, thank you for inspiring me to get my butts out there and start digging. We’re waiting for two rhubbards and two blueberries to arrive any day now.

  23. gloria says:

    I have almost no sun in my yard thanks to a gigantic weeping willow tree that covers a good portion of the house and most of the yard, so my veggies are confined to a side bit (which is also shaded some by big pines) and part of the drive way (the part that my husband can’t drive on in the summer due to all the galvanized tubs where I grow my veggies).

    This year I branched out a bit like you and just went for it. Tore up a part of the cottage garden on the side of the house and put in a raised bed and a teepee so I could grow even more. I’m so excited to see how this does as it only gets sun from about 10am to 6ish. Well even if it doesn’t do all that well, it looks pretty cool. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  24. Ellen says:

    I am soooo impressed. You obviously don’t suffer from the critters we do, even tho we are in the city. I have given up on veggies and have a nature reserve now….. Groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons & skunks — around 5 km from Parliament Hill.

  25. Anemone says:

    O boy…its beautiful…it makes me happy just looking at all the pix. Wow taking out a bee in flight? Are you kidding? HA! Hope you take out more pix in a few weeks. I would love to see it.

  26. Monique says:

    Love your garden. Nice use of the front yard. I might give this a try next year after I make sure there aren’t any ordinances saying I can’t plant in the front yard.

    I read a few months back about a woman who planted a beautiful veggie garden in her front yard. A couple of neighbors hated it and complained. Now the city is trying to force her to replace the veggies with lawn.

  27. Sandy says:

    Karen, your vegetable garden is beautiful. I love how you laid it out.

  28. Laura Bee says:

    You’ve done a wonderful job, it looks great! Every garden needs a bench, I have one just like yours in the back yard.
    Maybe a web cam would be nice so we can watch the veggies & grass grow too. Just do any naked dancing in the rain in the back yard.

  29. Kimberly says:

    Well done, Karen! Absolutely beautiful!! I’m getting inspired to dig the weeds out of my raised beds and start planting. Thanks for the inspiration!

  30. Evalyn says:

    Under the influence of your organizational skills, I went to the Mother Earth News website and set up my garden in thier garden planning software. As it turns out, I can feed a small third world country – or my entire extended family – from produce grown in my front yard. My plan up to this year was to till up as much space as possible – approx 4000 sq ft – line my family up, hand them plants and seeds and stand back. This year, we are going according to the plan. It will end either in a state of gross plentitude, or someone will stuff the plan down my throat and lock me in the closet until the planting is done and we won’t know what got planted where until the zucchini set on. Either way, hey! zucchini.

  31. Thera says:


  32. Carol Ann says:

    This is SO exciting! And you are going to have to name the bee, because I’m pretty sure he’s going to be around all growing season.
    Great job, Karen!

  33. Shelley says:

    Your garden looks amazing..I know you’ve been showing us all the way along, but wow have you guys done a lot of work! As far as slugs go, the tip I heard was epsom salts..just put a ring of salt around your plant (this was for hostas but I don’t think it would hurt your plants – it may make the soil more acidic depending on how much you use)

  34. Trish says:

    Love the garden. You definitely make things look easy. I would love to steal your tomato teepee idea and was wondering if you could share how you built it, and also how you could convert the idea for tomatos that are being grown in containers???

  35. turktime says:

    Oh Canada, I’m officially jealous….makes me want to take the plunge and start a garden myself…only in Georgia, you can plant early and everything goes gangbusters, but then the S-UH-N comes out in late May minus the rain then the plants chuckle weakly and DIE…at least that’s always been my experience…you should be proud, though – looks yummy!

  36. Love the variety and noticed how smart you are to have placed a bench. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  37. Ingrid says:

    BRAVA!!! Looks amazing! Gorgeous!!! I may have missed what I am about to ask in a post….are the sweet potatoes going in the basket planters as well? I am now beginning to root my slips and will also wait until temps are a little warmer…i have tiny little space in my raised beds but will throw ’em in a wine barrel if you are in fact going to plant yours in baskets like your other potatoes!!! As always, I thank you for the inspiration and your amazingNESS!

    • Karen says:

      HI Ingrid – I’m planting my sweet potatoes in regular old dirt in the ground. As opposed to regular potatoes, which grow upwards, sweet potatoes, grow down. The tuber is actually the root of the sweet potato. So pile up a mound of dirt (could use a barrel if you like), cover it with black plastic about a week before you’re going to plant them (to get the soil good and warm) and then cut slits in the plastic to insert your sweet potatoes. Done! ~ karen

  38. Lonelle says:

    So strange that you are planting/growing lettuce and its 100 degrees where I live!! lol

  39. sherri says:

    Ha- Karen I am from Ottawa!! I am with you on the bear arms. I was just curious if anybody actually had a problem….there always seems to be one!

    • Karen says:

      OH! LOL. No. No problems. There was one woman in the States a year or two ago who was going to be arrested because she planted vegetables in her front yard! ~ karen

      • Spokangela says:

        Your amazing garden and fantastic ideas and the enthusiastic support of your readers had restored my faith in humanity…

        Then I read this. Now I don’t know what to do. Move to Canada? :)

  40. sherri says:

    I am curious about being “allowed” to have a veggie garden in your front yard. Is there zoning or bylaws that prohibit this or problems with your neighbours? I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, just curious. Or perhaps your neighbours have already decided that you are a teeny bit nuts and leave you alone?
    Personally, I think it is a great idea and looks awesome….I never really understood the concept of the front lawn anyway- nobody does anything on it….seems kind of pointless- good on you for putting it to good use!

    • Karen says:

      Sherri – We don’t have those kinds of laws regarding front yard vegetables in Canada. I was stunned when I heard about that in the States. You’re allowed to bear arms but not a tomato, LOL? All of my neighbours love the garden and several of them are now planning on doing it themselves next year. Also, I’m aware it’s the “front yard”, so I’ve made sure that it’s also aesthetically pleasing. Nobody wants to look at an ugly yard across the street whether it’s vegetables, shrubs or grass. ~ karen!

  41. Maureen says:

    Karen, if you want more celery, try this. Cut the bottom few inches off a bunch, stick it in water for a few days and it will be sprouted as big as the one you bought. Plant directly in the garden watch those cute little stocks grow! You don’t have to pull the whole plant, just cut off a stick when you need it.

  42. taria says:

    that is a wonderful garden. I need a bit of grass/lawn too. that bee pic is really cool. how about a webbing, rope or leather strap on that board to pick it up and move easier? great work!

  43. olemike says:

    Wow ! Looks great!

  44. BD says:

    It looks great. I have often thought of a front yard garden due to all of the sun it receives. What holds me back is wondering what to do with the yard in the winter. I don’t think I (or my neighbors) want to look at big patches of dirt for the long winter! What do you plan on doing during the winter?

    • Karen says:

      BD – I haven’t decided yet. It depends on how well the garden works out for me. I’ll figure it out when the time comes. :) ~ karen

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