I always hear Freddie Mercury singing We Are the Champions* whenever someone mentions a victory garden, so of course I love that term. My sweetie and I had the amazing good fortune of being able to buy a house this past winter. My dream of owning a house has long included three goals: backyard chickens, honeybees, and a little champion vegetable garden of my own.
I don’t have chickens or beehives yet, but I have the veggies. At least I will soon. I’ve dabbled with herb gardening for years, but this is the first time I’ve had my own space to do whatever I want with the yard. Our back yard is nice and large but totally shaded by neighboring redwood trees, so if I want to grow food it has to be in the front yard. So a little front yard food garden it is. Today’s post is about that work in progress.
I started with removing a very old and very ugly, deep-rooted shrub that must have been living there for 50 years. Helloooooo, spiders.
Next, I added compost and good dirt. Experts advise all but container gardeners to test for lead in their soil before starting a food gardening project. I didn’t do that, but I did choose to plant leafy greens and other notorious lead-leechers in planters rather than straight into the ground.
I also wanted to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to our tiny patch of green, so I planted lots of creature-attracting and native plants like California poppies, yarrow, various sage plants, sunflowers, and nicotianas. Bonus medicinal herbs such as echinacea, chamomile, and yarrow round out the bare spots between pots and rows of green beans, melons, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, summer squashes and hard squashes, Italian basil, dill weed, eggplants, cress, and three kinds of lettuce.
I also planted a lemon tree, a blackberry and a blueberry bush, a grape vine, and an apricot tree (we call it the Kindergarten tree because we planted it in honor of my kiddo’s preschool graduation).
Now, I may be an avid follower of the food not lawns (or food not hedges) philosophy, but I’m also a beginning gardener with zero experience and even less patience. I only planted everything last month, so my little victory garden doesn’t (yet) look beautiful. And it probably never will host gorgeous teak raised beds or a sweet irrigation system. It’s pretty functional, but if everything goes according to plan it will be able to feed a family of three in a small plot of about 8 x 12 feet.
For fun I wanted to post some in-progress pictures of my little front-yard food garden.
The real fun will be showing you what it looks like in another month when everything is (hopefully) bursting with ripe, organic fruit and veg.
*And don’t think I’m going to leave you hanging, people. I wouldn’t put a song in your brain like that and then hold out on you.
Do you garden? Please let me know what you’re planting and be sure to send tips and tricks to this organic gardening newbie!
Until next time, keep on living your delicious life.
Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and wellness practice owner who lives happily, works gratefully, home-schools secularly, dances inexpertly, and cooks traditionally in the San Francisco Bay Area. She offers in-person and remote health coaching anywhere and holistic skincare in downtown San Francisco. Read more about her here.