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.


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  1. Kelly says:

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

  2. 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)!

  3. 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.)

  4. 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.

  5. Yvette says:

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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. :)

  9. 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?

  10. Elen Grey says:

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

  11. anna says:

    Love your garden!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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