The Front Yard Vegetable Garden Update.

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Before I continue, I’d like to take a moment to mourn the loss of several neighbours and a moulting squirrel. All entered my garden in the month of July. Not a one of them have been seen since.

I should point out this isn’t quite as alarming as it sounds because all of the neighbours were really quite small.  Freakishly small.   They were probably allowed to drink coffee as small children or something.

So anyhow, in a sly display of irony … my garden ate them.  I’m sure it never could have taken down a full sized adult.  Not a healthy one anyway.

I may find one or two of the missing in the sweet potato patch when I dig it up on October, but it’s a long shot.

Luckily I had some time off last month so I had a bit of time to train it.  The garden is slightly more well behaved now.


July Garden 34


Not a whole lot is different from last year other than a few experimental vegetables including ground cherries, cape gooseberries and a mouse melon.


July Garden 3


I think I did a better job of it visually this year.  I made it a bit more balanced and allowed for slightly more negative space.

 Left side of the yard

July Garden 7


I flanked the porch with my favourite of favourites the Dinosaur Kale.  They’re the leaf eating type of dinosaurs, so they’d never hurt a fly let alone a moulting squirrel.  I also hid a couple of kales in another area of the garden so I wouldn’t have to completely decimate the kale by the front porch.  It looks too pretty.  I do eat it, but it’s hard to tell because it’s so big and there are other kale plants I take from throughout the garden.


Centre of the yard

The space in front of the kale is where I’ve already harvested cauliflower.  I’ve now planted beets there for a wintertime harvest.

July Garden 8


Right side of the yard.

July Garden 9


Jalapeño Peppers for Jalapeño Poppers.

July Garden 10


9 foot tall “Dinnerplate Beefsteak” tomato

The tomatoes are the size of an elephant’s foot … they’ll be getting a post of their own later.

July Garden 13


July Garden 14


3 varieties of green beans run up the porch post and swag over to meet the huge tomato plant, framing the pots of herbs on the railing.

(Scarlet Runner, Lazy Housewife, French Pole beans)

July Garden 15


This is the experimental patch.  One Ground Cherry plant and one Cape Gooseberry.  I’ve been harvesting Ground Cherries for over a month now and I love them.  They have an odd taste like nothing you’ve ever had before. Sort of a cross between a tomato and a pineapple.  Tropical tasting.  People have definite opinions on the taste.  Not always favourable. But those people are stupid.

July Garden 16


Ground Cherries are toxic while they’re green and on the plant so if you come across them DON’T pick them.  They’re called ground cherries because when they’re ripe, they fall to the ground.  The yellow one in the background that you see is close to being ripe and falling off.

July Garden 17


Two squash plants.  One acorn, one Delicata.

July Garden 19


Something happened with the potatoes this year.  Everything beyond the hydrangea is potatoes.  They’re huge and I have high hopes for my harvest.  This is one of 5 potato patches in the garden.  I’ve already harvested many small, red fingerling potatoes and they’re GREAT.

July Garden 20


Herb plot.  The tall grassy stuff is lemongrass.  Then there’s sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, lime basil, regular parsley, Italian parsley and more.

July Garden 22


The tiny beet seedlings which will grow up to be my winter harvest.

July Garden 24


In a few months those tiny beets will look like this beet which I planted in May.

July Garden 25


Yet again I planted far too many tomato plants.  Especially when you consider I don’t really love tomatoes.

I do, however, love growing them.

This is last year’s favourite, Green Zebra, which is green when ripe, but tastes like a red tomato.

It’s zingy.

July Garden 26


These are Fargo Yellow Pear tomatoes which I also grew last year.

These ones I grew by accident. They just popped up and I didn’t have the heart to pull the plant out.

Besides, these are the tomatoes I let grow on the opposite side of my fence so they’re the ones the neighbours and kids pick from on their way to school.

July Garden 28


Behold … the exceptionally bad picture of my FIG!

Yes.  This year I invested in a fig tree.  And this year it shall produce one fig.  Maybe.

July Garden 30
July Garden 33


From left to right, top to bottom.

1. Bright Lights Swiss Chard     2.  Zapotec tomato   3.  Early Wonder beets    
4.  Celery     5.  Delicata squash     6.  Swiss chard
Untitled 1


1.  Sweet Baby Girl cherry tomatoes (in hanging basket)     2.  Red chile peppers     3.  English cucumbers growing along fence.



1.  Mouse melon (failure for me)     2.  Variety of lettuces     3.  Portulaca    
4.  Dragon carrots

Collage 2


Oh! And by the way, Canadian Gardening was here 2 weeks ago photographing my vegetable garden for an upcoming issue. Want proof? Here’s the photographer Donna Griffith and her assistant.

Sadly, neither one of them have been seen since.



  1. Megan says:

    Unbelievably gorgeous! Fantastic job. Dare I say I’m terribly jealous. 🙂

  2. Deborah says:

    I am in love with your garden, it couldn’t be more beautiful, I wish I had the opportunity to do the same, sadly I don’t have that kind of room. So glad you are back posting and for what it’s worth, I think you rock! Your ideas, pictures, creativity, decorating ability, chicken raising….list goes on! BTW, I found your site a while back when you were building your chicken mansion…another thing I can only admire!

  3. Congratulations on your bounty. I suppose we did too much traveling this summer because my garden has not flourished. Oh we’ll, there is always next year. I could learn from you.

  4. Therese Bourne says:

    Thank you Karen. Your garden has inspired me once more. I do really try with my garden, but I get too greedy when planting in a small space, and then things don’t fulfill their true potential. I really want to plant out the garden bed, but my chickens are ruthless destroying machines. I suppose it’s either them or me where the garden is concerned. Do I let them free range and have no veggies, or do I realise my dream veggie garden (that’s your garden) and confine my girls to barracks?

  5. Amie Mason says:

    Watch out for that lemongrass. It will take over you whole garden before you know it! I had one tiny plant that now runs the entire length of my driveway!

  6. Barbie says:

    It’s BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely LOVE the kale as an ornamental of sorts next to your front pillars! ….I do have a question…I love the idea of stringing up your squash for rooms sake! ours almost takes over one side of the garden…I never considered stringing it so it grows upwards…however when the quash comes on…especially acorn…doesn’t it get to heavy on the vine to hang? Wouldn’t it break off before it was able to mature? Do tell….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbie – The acorn squash are fine to grow like this. And the delicata don’t get too big either. Plus they both have strong stems. Some people when growing squash vertically support the squash in a hammock of sorts, made out of mesh, old nylons … whatever. ~ karen!

  7. Jenna says:

    Karen, how did you get your squash to train upwards like that? I planted summer squash and butternut squash and I find that especially the summer squash consumes things… I’m pretty sure they’ve swallowed up a full grown deer and family of wild turkeys. Their vines wrap around things and you can practically hear them slurp. The plus side is they’ve produced about 20 very large phallic shaped squash and there are at least another 20 in the garden. Advice for taming them?

    • Karen says:

      Jenna – Some squash are easier to get to grow vertically than others. The Delicata squash is more of a vine type so it’s easy to get to go upwards. Plus it has tendrils that latch onto the rope I’m using to support it. Different varieties of acorn or butternut squash are more of a bush type so they’re harder to train, but it can be done. Prior to planting, string a rope or heavy string straight up. This can be done on a fence, side of a house or wherever else you can manage it. Then plant your squash. As soon as it starts growing, train the main stem to go up the rope/string. That’s it! ~ karen

  8. Fab, fab garden Karen! Even your fences are beautiful, I hang my head in shame. My tomato plant looks like a straggly pile of dried-out rubbish compared to yours!

  9. Beautiful garden. Amazing how you’ve managed to do so much with such a small space!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Just beautiful. Love the pic of the bean plants meeting the tomato plants….framing the herb pots. What could be better!

  11. Mary says:

    Good morning, Karen.
    Love your garden! I know that kind of beautiful doesn’t happen without a lot of work and planning. I live in a small Scarborough Bungalow with a big tree out front and big trees in the back garden. I do, however, have a 4′ wide strip of nothing running down the south side of the house. You know what I’m talking about, the ugly side of the house where weeds like to grow and it’s a pain to drag the lawn mower over there. Anyhow, I turned it into raised beds three years ago. This is probably the first year where it looks like I might know what I’m doing. And you know what? – it’s pretty and bountiful! My tomatos include Persimmon, Purple Cherokee, Pineapple and pear cherry. There’s something else in there, but I can’t remember the name at the moment. I’ve harvested my garlic, and beets. I pick yellow beans and zucchini almost everyday and I’m giving Kale away to anybody that will take it. Yellow banana peppers look ripe for the picking after work today. This is all done on a very narrow strip of property which still has some real estate for a few additions next year – I bought some ground cherry from Cubits which I can’t wait to plant. Anyhow, gotta make like an over-ripe tomato and split. Hi ho, hi ho.

  12. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    Lovely and enviable! Any tips on fried sage leaves? I don’t have a lush plant like yours, so practicing will be a bit more limited (…to store bought sage plants or cut stems because I don’t actually have one growing at all, lush or otherwise). Making a pumpkin parmesan soup that calls for the leaves as garnish. Would appreciate your input.

    Welcome back!

  13. ericmiami says:

    Beautiful and impressive garden.

  14. Susan says:

    Wow! Well, I feel completely inadequate. I’m going out now to bury my vegetable garden..
    What kind of fertilizer are you using? Plutonium?
    I got about 10 tomatoes and one sickly jalepeno the whole summer.

  15. Elaine says:

    You are a true Inspiration. I attempted flowers this year on my patio and low and behold they are still alive. I think I will try a few vegetables in pots next year.
    Your garden is beautiful.

  16. Linda J Howes says:


  17. Su says:

    Gardening is solace to my soul…. happy harvesting!

  18. Ev says:

    Wow! What a great garden! Thanks for all the great pictures. I FINALLY got to pick 3 whole tomatoes. They are still 80% green-just got tired of waiting! We have 8 plants. The plants did well, just not the tomatoes. Green Green Green, and not a lot of them. We needed the boost to the water table though, so guess it’s a trade off? Your lawn garden is wonderful. Well done!

  19. Traci says:

    The photographer can’t possibly take better pictures than you! They are gorgeous!

  20. Thera says:

    Gorgeous as usual!

  21. Tanya H. says:

    Your garden is GORGEOUS! Delicata squash is my absolute favourite.

  22. Chrissie says:

    You have a wonderful garden. Not so sorry the small things aren’t seen again. Seems that they met a happy end though. Blessings and keep on growing and inspiring. Thank you.

  23. Sarah says:

    Absolutely GORGEOUS, Karen! I think all front yards should taste, er…I mean look, this good. And if you ever need help eating ALL those goodies, I’m available. Ha!

  24. magali says:

    what interesting information about the ground cherries!
    when you say winter harvest, when does that mean exactly?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Magali – That means that beets (and carrots actually) are two of the things that prefer growing in cool weather. If you plant them late in the summer you can go out and harvest them by the end of October. You can also then leave them in the ground, protect them with a cold frame or straw and pick them all winter long. That’s a quick version. I’ll be doing a post on it all later.~ karen!

  25. Nicki Woo says:

    Geez Louise. I’m dizzy. That is a lot of garden. I’d say getting lost in it wouldn’t be such a bad ending:)

  26. Sandy says:

    I wish my garden could look like that! You did an outstanding job designing the layout. It is a gorgeous garden.

  27. Mary Werner says:

    How did you know? Thanks so much for the pictures. I am taking a watercolor class and needed to practice by painting my garden, but I quit that to learn to paint so now I can use your amazing pictures. Not only a wonderful gardener, blogger, chef, DIY guru, and stair climber, but you take great pictures also!

  28. Janie says:

    I would like to have a vegetable garden in my front yard but…. 1) I can’t digest what I grow (gastroparesis) 2) Can’t kneel, squat or bend over to plant it let alone weed (2 knee surgeries and a risotomy) 3) Raccoons, rabbits, deer and the rest of the wildlife would eat it all. So I think I’ll do fake plants and glass flowers. Much easier on me.

  29. Nancy Adkins says:

    I LOVE Ground Cherries (Cape Gooseberries) too! In Hawaii they are called Poha and besides just eating mine while working in the garden they make an amazing Jam.

  30. SueSchneid22 says:

    Love love love the way your garden looks and the way it adorns your whole front yard. You have done a masterful job of making it even more beautiful than a garden of just flowers. You rock. Have a great week!

  31. Brian says:

    Looking good Karen! I have one upside down tomato plant. My dad purchased it for me! Never seen one before! Glad to see you back! 🙂

  32. Ann says:

    Your garden is gorgeous. And what productivity. I am so pleased with how you can take a small front yard and turn it into something that provides not only food, but beauty. And allowing children to pick fresh tomatoes from outside the fence may just hook 1 or 2 children into being gardeners later in their lives. Or at least, help them to enjoy eating healthier food.

    Your fig tree will get a slow start. Even mine here in south Tennessee has taken it’s time. And pretty much all varieties of figs will die back to the ground if the winter temps fall below 10 degrees fahrenheit. I almost wish I had planted mine in a pot that could be moved into the garage come winter. But so far, we have had a few milder winters in a row and my tree has not died back in 2 whole years. And it is covered in figs this year. Which struggle to ripen up before our first frost. But even one really ripe, fresh fig is enough to justify having a tree in your very own yard.

  33. Marilyn says:


  34. Bethany Jones says:

    The lost neighbors could probably be found rolling around in the grass under the shade of a tomato. That’s where I would be…it all looks gorgeous!

  35. nicole says:

    oh my goodness Karen, i am so jealous.
    my veggie garden was a total flop this year… soooo disappointing!

    my neighbours planted this crazy high grass that is now approx. 12 feet tall, and hangs over the fence, putting my ENTIRE garden in the shade 24/7. so far i have six tomatoes that are ALLLLMOSTTTT the size of a regular cherry tomato… and one cucumber that looks like it might be ready to be picked in about 2 weeks. haha…. sooo disappointing.

    also, a bunny ate my dinosaur Kale, my beans, and my pepper plants…

    • Karen says:

      Nicole – That’s awful. Two words of advice. 1. Cut down your neighbours grass and blame it on the bunny. 2. If you try again next year use floating row covers over your kale, beans and pepper plants until they’re big enough to fend for themselves. ~ karen!

      • nicole says:

        thanks karen! will do! I CANNOT WAIT to get a house of my own (as opposed to renting) so i can put more planning/time/$$ into a real good garden set-up… its hard to have an “ideal” garden when you’re renting…

        next time, i’m thinking raised beds, bunny fences/row covers galore, a drip irrigation system, THE WORKS! … just have to buy the right house first. haha!

        as, always, thank you for your inspiration.

  36. Wilma says:

    It’s a beautiful garden. Something my garden with its huge flopping green bean plants/bushes, out of control tomatoes & sprawling squash forests can only dream of being. Sigh. I need to do some wrangling. Anyway, ground cherries! I remember my grandmother making ground cherry pie that was to die for, and I still crave it. Top & bottom crust, thickened, sweetened cherry filling. A certain somebody’s father might argue that it’s not a real pie, but it’s quite delicious anyway. Need to plant ground cherries!

  37. Linda says:

    Your garden looks great Karen! I was in your pretty town yesterday and surprised how dry it was there. I guess you missed some of our downpours. I hope you’ll try the mouse melons again next year-you’ll love them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda! You should have come to visit. I’m not sure if it’s typical or not but my ground cherry plant has a wingspan of about 7 or 8 feet! It’s enormous! ~ karen

  38. toekneetoni says:

    very very impressive!

  39. Diane A. says:

    Love your front yard garden…I planted 5 4′ x 8′ raised beds (in late May because my hubby didn’t get them finished and installed till then). Normally the garden would have been planted earlier, however we actually had a very late freeze the second week in May so it worked out for the best. My tomatoes are amazing…likewise the muskmelons and peppers, zucchini, yellow squash. The cukes produced like crazy, BUT, I’m not happy with the variety I chose – too fat and yellowish. Maybe I’ll try English cucumbers next year. The watermelon are still not ready and the bugs did in the cauliflower. I did get some broccoli, but not very happy with the speed it all came in – feast or famine! You’re inspiring me to try heirloom and/or unusual varieties next year. Oh, my 2 newly planted fig trees have a total of six (6) figs – HA!

  40. Rondina says:

    The front yard looks great and yummy. Your right about the neatness of the garden compared to last year.

  41. Uturn says:

    I call tomatoes like your Fargo Yellow “volunteers” when they come up by accident like that 🙂 I had only one volunteer tomato come up this year because we expanded our garden and put in a 3 tier terrace since it’s on a hill-so brought in a lot of soil to fill in and probably covered any seed that would have volunteered. We did however have a ton of volunteer sunflowers sprout up. One of which is a “FrankenFlower” sunflower with 30 heads!!! Yes, additional heads grew like suckers on a tomato and I left it go to see what would happen. The heads are opening now, some of them are even double headed. It is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen

    My cucumbers and squash are succumbing to powdery mildew due to my gardening novice and not knowing what it was and how to address it early enough 🙁 But, that is the joy of learning so I can do better next year. I got a bumper crop of broccoli which I never in the world thought I would be able to grow. I’m getting head-sized rutabagas, some beautiful kohlrabi and a jungle full of canteloupe. It also looks as if my sweet corn will be a huge success. So, all in all I can’t complain.
    Happy to see your garden flourishing and that you’re back to blogging

  42. Lindsey R. says:

    My in-laws have a fig tree, it takes a couple of years, but they have pints of figs each year now. They cut it off every winter, and it gets HUGE every summer.
    I am not a frequent commenter, but I wanted to take the chance to tell you “welcome back” and how much I enjoy your blog. Glad you took the time to find your footing again. <3

  43. Carla Barnes says:

    Mouse melons love heat! They’re regarded as weeds here in Oklahoma, and they’re taking over my front yard -which is ok with me, I think they’re yummy.

  44. Susan says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with those of us whose green thumbs turned black a long time ago.

  45. Call Me Patty says:

    I’m a patio gardener and have 3 cherry tomato plants growing, one is hanging upside down in a 5 gallon bucket. I’m getting tons of tomatoes from them and they are so sweet. I also have chives, bay leaf, rosemary,sage, savory, parsley (curly and Italian), Italian basil, purple basil, oregano, French tarragon, marjarom, and oh yeah, had planted garlic last fall, and am now enjoying fresh juicy garlic. And I just discovered an avocado growing in amongst the tomato that my husband had stuck in the dirt last year. We’re having the best summer out here in BC

  46. JF says:

    ack! was just wondering how The Garden was
    doing. . .gorgeous from start to finish!

    I am disappointed that The Mouse Melon pooped out, was very intrigued by the sound of that

    and tomatoes, I would KILL for some. . .ok, maybe not kill, but commit a misdemeanor for some. . .
    perhaps even a felony

  47. Johan says:

    Wow, now that is efficient use of space. You could feed an entire province with the space I use for vegetable garden. Will you have to take the fig tree in or will it winter outdoors?

    • Karen says:

      Johan – I’ll protect the fig tree a little by putting it in my potting shed. That should be all it needs. ~ karen!

      • Johan says:

        Interesting! I have a 8+(?) year old Rosemary tree that I had notions of rearing in Bonsai fashion. I cut it way back and bring into my shop every winter, then re-plant again in spring. Its becoming an unmanageable size but it’s now like an old friend so I can’t really just let it die. Any ideas on what to do with a wheelbarrow full of Rosemary sprigs?

  48. Kori says:

    LOVE your garden! Would also love to see what you cook up with the veggies. I grew bright lights chard this year and I have no idea what to do with them. So far as I can tell they are only for looks cuz they taste like crap.

  49. Tara says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous garden! I’m so glad you’re back.

  50. While I am a little sad over your missing neighbors, Karen, sometimes a sacrifice is necessary to attain Gardening Nirvana.

  51. Leslie says:

    So beautiful! Soon it will swallow your house.

  52. Amanda says:

    Beautiful beyond words, Karen! Thank you for the inspiration to go out and grow!

  53. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Wow Karen..the garden is even more beautiful than last year..I wouldn’t worry about the little people who are missing..I’m sure that they won’t starve and kinda thinking maybe they don’t want to be hope you enjoy your Delicata squash when it is ready as much as our local raccoon family enjoyed eating mine..I’m quite sure that those beautiful blossoms were delicious..I guess it is back to the farmers market to buy mine again this year..When your garden appears in that magazine please share it with us..

  54. Sally says:

    I love Rosemary, and used to grow it in Texas year round. I now live in Wisconsin which is closer to your climate, do you have to replace it every year? Or can it survive the winter?

  55. That first picture with the kale sucked me right in. It’s beautiful. (Never thought I would say that). I can’t blame you for not wanting to pick it.

  56. Corinna says:

    Lucky! The gang of feathered thugs (my chickens)that have taken over my backyard got into my garden! They have destroyed everything except the jalapeno peppers. I am seriously surprised they haven’t turned over the picnic table and spray painted graffiti.

    • Karen says:

      That literally made me laugh out loud! ~ karen

      • Corinna says:

        I think the chickens read my complaints.. My zucchini plants, which were happily growing zucchinis, are now merely roots. I am thinking this is the chicken version of finding a horse head in my bed. (or maybe a sign I need a fence around my garden.. it’s a toss up)

  57. sera says:

    Your garden is amazing! I feel like I need to take pictures of mine so that you can give me some advise. While I continue to grow great tomatoes, the rest of my garden is just a mess. And in the front flower garden, I just haven’t had the heart to dig every little thing out including the two hundred year old roses in order to completely redesign it. I feel like this year my front has failed and my back is still a weed pile. And my plum tree didn’t fair so well this year despite the tons of sun we had. sigh.

  58. Elizabeth says:

    that garden is insane!!! wow, fresh amazing food for you 🙂

  59. JanetM says:

    Impressive, Karen! about five years ago my husband attended a 3 week training class for the US federal government and in the class were people from many countries around the world. The one comment I distinctly remember him relating to me was that people in foreign countries, where land is at a premium, could not understand why we don’t plant all of our land (even in the front of our homes)with sustainable gardens. Often we just plant for pretty. You have accomplished both. Makes me rethink my gardens in the front of the house where the sun shines all day. Wish you were in the states!

  60. Marti says:

    You made it look so lush and green and amazingly welcoming this year. No wonder the neighbors went in… sadly, there’s probably some sort of “Venus Gigantus Neighbor-Trap” lurking in there.

    My Dad, who is a lifelong farmer, gave me a tip for my apple-planting future which might be useful to you, Karen.

    I grew up on a farm with the house located in an apple orchard: lots of apples, some of which were very great looking… others were not. But these days, ALL his apples turn out amazing. He says he got this tip from an Ag researcher who told him “when the apples are golf-ball size, re-fertilize the base of the trees and irrigate (heavy-heavy watering) the area. It gives the trees the food energy they need, at the exact moment needed, to push those apples to their best.”

    No idea when that moment for figs would be, but I’m guessing sometime around thumb-sized would be best. But that’s the farmer’s daughter, NOT the farmer, saying that. I’m actually amazed because I did not know a fig tree would grow and produce in the tundra land.

    When is my “next favorite soup” recipe coming, please?

  61. qtpuh2tme says:


    Garden. Me. Someday. :::sigh::: ~:}

  62. Lori says:

    All I can say about the garden is WOW!!! Love that it does look like a garden!!
    Glad to have you back,Karen!

  63. Being born with black thumbs I am in awe!

  64. what websites of books do you find particularly helpful in the planning of a garden for the Hamilton area. everything i find online talks about gardens in the warmer states, very little for canada. I want to plant a garden for my side lawn (dont have a back yard) for next year and can only hope it will be both beautiful and bountiful, but I have a black thumb and no knowledge. 🙁

  65. Langela says:

    Do you use your tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce? I peel, quarter and freeze mine for use later in the winter when I want to can a bunch of sauce. Super easy and quick when I have so many other things to take care of during gardening season. Just a thought.

    Beautiful garden, Karen!

  66. Laura Bee says:

    Love the cukes growing along the fence. Postcard perfect.
    My Nana always made us “instant pickles” with salt, pepperr & vinegar, for a snack. She also made the best 8 day pickles.
    Congrats on the Canadian Gardening spread. Your garden should be the centerfold! It’s sooo good looking!

  67. Lesley Williamson says:

    This is truly impressive!

  68. SarahP says:

    True inspiration! I love vegetable gardens. Unfortunately, since the only vegetable my husband will eat is romaine in a Caesar Salad – i find myself overwhelmed with more tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers than I can eat or give away to neighbours.

  69. Lisa says:

    I’m in awe! Your garden is amazing. Do you NOT have bunnies? My garden was an all you can eat salad bar for the bunnies this year. They even ate the Marigolds. They don’t seem to like the Kale though! Thank goodness!!

  70. Dee says:

    I can see why Canadian Gardening wants photos of your garden! So pretty, especially the dinosaur kale by your entrance. Your Green Zebras – I planted one because yours looked so good last year but it withered just when it got to be 2 feet tall. I’ll try again. Better luck next year.

  71. Bonnie Cramond says:

    Your garden is beautiful, lush, and green. It looks very healthy. Be careful of the figs. I don’t know how they will do in Canada, but here in the South of the U.S., they can grow huge. Then, all of the figs get ripe at the same time and start falling from the branches. If you don’t pick them up right away, they ferment and your yard smells like a brewery. Also, the birds eat them and excrete them all over your yard, car, outdoor furniture, etc. So, keep your fig plant small.

  72. Jill says:

    Wonderful garden, Karen! And so pretty too.

    I have serious fig envy–what kind are you growing way up there in the frozen North? The ones I know need a long hot summer to survive. If I thought I could get t them to survive the Nebraska winter, I’d have an entire fig orchard.

    Enjoy every mouthful you get from your beautiful landscape!

  73. Bols says:

    Your garden is so enviable.
    My own harvest is limited to cherry tomatoes (so sweet!) and 3 currant shrubs: one red, two black.
    The black currant shrubs surprised me this year (their second year) with a very decent amount of fruit. The red one was planted only last year, I think, so it did not bear any fruit yet.

  74. Maureen Locke says:

    What an amazing garden, just beautiful.
    This year I tried container planting on my deck. What a horrid failure. We had so much rain that everything just rotted or mildewed. I even tried bringing the tomatoes in the house to save them. They all rotted on the bottom before they even ripened. I did get a few Tiny Tims that were so sweet and delicious and my sweet red pepper plant is still holding it’s own so I have hopes for it. What I wouldn’t do for your green thumb. 🙂 Congrats on the Canadian Gardening spread. Well deserved. 🙂

  75. Tigersmom says:

    The garden is beautiful. I’m quite jealous as hardy perennials become super short-lived annuals under my care. Stupid fat shrivel-inducing black thumb.

    I took comfort knowing that if your blog failed to support you in the manner to which you had become accustomed, not only would you not starve but would probably eat better than most of us.

    Congratulations on the magazine recognition of your hard work. Last year’s was great but this years is prettier. I especially like the kales that remind me of palms. Lovely.

  76. Tigersmom says:

    Question: In the first picture, what is the pink bud about to open above the left side kale?

    For a second I thought it was your asshead rose. I too, have an asshead rose that was here when we bought our house. It gets black spot every time it rains and then it starts to just die back from the ends. I cut it back thinking every time I should just yank it out and then just about the time I think I’m finally gonna do it, it goes crazy with blooms. Asshead!

    • Karen says:

      That is a rose but not the asshead rose. It’s the most fragrant rose ever and it’s a climbing rose that I have running along my fence. ~ karen!

  77. Maryanne says:

    Hi Karen, Beautiful front yard, veggies are even better than flowers! Who would have ever thought!

  78. Sara says:

    Love, love, love! Thanks for sharing.

  79. Karen B says:

    Sigh! You obviously do not have my neighbours — deer and rabbits.

  80. Last winter, my husband decided (out of freaking nowhere, with no experience aside from slave labor as a teenager in his mom’s garden), “We need a vegetable garden the size of Rhode Island. But our backyard has no sun, and our community garden is full of pesky neighbors that I’d have to interact with. What to do?” I suggested tilling under our front lawn, and since this a) meant less lawn mowing, and b) meant he got to rent a tiller, it was on. My one condition was that it not look like crap, and googled “front yard garden” for ideas, which led me to your blog. Once I realized you were also the lady in the video yelling at her mom while trying to open a bottle of wine with her shoe, I knew you would be my muse. So what I’m sayin’ is, thanks for the inspiration. The garden has been a rousing success, and we even had an old hippie in a Subaru throw his car into reverse to shout out his window that our yard was awesome. That’s when you know you’ve made it.

  81. Karen S says:

    We planted 1/2 acre as I can everything for winter. The crows ate the sweet corn…6 rows..three different plantings. We ate what was left…two ears. They ate the field corn. The chickens were not happy to hear about this.

    Then critters called deer came a visit. We have a solar electric fence. We strung fishing line. We hung soap. We put out tin pie plates and old Cd’s. We have a dog.

    They began with the tomatoes, eating the tops off. The dog watched them do it and expected a treat for her observations. Then the deer attacked the stems and anything left. There are a few ripe ones…and we, along with the deer eat the green ones too. But nothing is going into jars this year.

    The deer tired of tomatoes an moved onto to the potatoes. They ate leaves and blossoms. Luckily they don’t dig so a few are in the ground. They ate cucumbers, yellow squash, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and beans. And they also eat pumpkins!

    I do have canned goods in the cellar from previous years so there won’t be a shortage. This year I am adding canned deer meat. And the dog?? She expects deer jerky. Karen S

    PS: the deer ate the tulips too.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! I know I shouldn’t laugh, but well … you shouldn’t have written it so funny. I especially liked the ps. ~ karen!

  82. Jenny says:

    Apparently there is something wrong with me because unlike everyone else, I thought, “That’s a burglar friendly front porch”… Gee. Sorry Karen!

  83. Louise Barr says:

    Re: the Ground Cherry
    “People have definite opinions on the taste. Not always favourable. But those people are stupid.”

    This made me laugh out loud! You certainly have definite opinions, don’t you?

    I’m new to your blog and I’m enchanted by what I’ve read so far. I must tell my friends about you!

  84. anna says:

    Love your garden!

  85. Elen Grey says:

    The garden is fabu, Karen! Congrats on the Canadian Gardening issue. Let us know when it is out.

  86. You need to write a post on how you pulled off each and every one of these beauties!

    Gorgeous garden and quite enviable, considering how the rain has dulled my garden here in PA. Very inspiring! Do you fertilize with anything in particular?

  87. Cynthia says:

    I was intrigued to see lemon grass in your garden. I recently moved from LA to the Pacific Northwest, and I had to leave my beloved lemon grass behind. Everything I read (and friends’ advice) said it would hate living in this area (i.e., die by winter time). I think your location and mine are similar zones, so— how do you do it? After all, it’s originally from Southeast Asia, right? Hot ‘n’ humid?

    I LOVE your blog! SO informative, SO much fun!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia – Thanks so much! This is my first year growing lemongrass. I can tell you that it’s HUGE. I’m in zone 6b, which is incredibly hot and humid. Heavy on the humid. So for 4-5 months the weather is just what the lemongrass wants. I assume it won’t act as a perennial, but I’ll leave it in the ground and see what happens. Oftentimes things that aren’t supposed to be hardy in this zone actually are. Just having a plant close to the warmth and protection of a house can fool the plant into thinking it’s in a higher zone. I have a hunch that won’t be the case for the lemongrass but … I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

  88. Maryanne says:

    Karen, I love the Kale, could I pot plant it?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maryanne – I have no idea, LOL. Like I always say, give it a shot. It’ll either work or won’t. 😉 ~ karen!

  89. Olivia says:

    I love your garden!!!! It’s fabulous. I love the idea of green beans on the porch, and, well, I love it. I just started following you, because I googled how to darn socks, in which your post was helpful. Then I browsed around & I’m here to stay.

  90. Yvette says:

    I am deeply jealous of your kale. I never knew I could feel this way towards a leafy green.

  91. Jessica says:

    I think the pear tomatoes are like some crazy invasive species, we accidentally grew them instead of cherry tomatoes 2 years ago. They are still popping up from the fact we use homemade compost. Sadly, one of our raised beds is doing poorly on the tomato front. Every plant has blossom end rot. But peppers are going like gang busters.

    Also the portulaca – I think it is similar. We planted no seeds, but they are back in all of our flower boxes this year.

  92. Sarah says:

    THIS is the post I shared for the Great Facebook Experiment. 🙂 I love your garden posts.

    (Let’s be honest: I love all of your posts.)

  93. rktrixy says:

    I tried a container garden in my front yard this year as it gets the best sun. I did containers because 1) it’s a rental, and that’s not my grass and 2) we got gophers and ants. And more gophers. And more ants. I thought the containers would help.

    Well… sort of, but there is no real sense of abundance like I see with your plants. I’m gonna have to break into the grass next year and see if the landlord screams. Thanks for the inspiration(s)!

  94. Kelly says:

    Your last line always makes me laugh, and it makes me so happy–the highlight of my day!

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