April 22, 2009

Urban Garden Project

The Urban Garden Project is relatively new but I find it to be a great resource. They have had interesting posts and great "how-to" videos for projects. Their goal is to encourage and catalog the creation of 100,000 urban gardens by 2020. If this sounds at all interesting to you, I recommend checking out their blog.

We started gardening in 2002 with the goals of seeing how much of our food needs can be met from our gardens and reducing the amount of grass we grow. It has been a fun project that was greatly helped by turning over our backyard to raised bed gardens. Soon after we moved in to this house, we decided that a small scraggly patch of weeds/lawn directly in front of the house was not worth the effort of trying to grow grass. We dug it up and planted red currants, alpine strawberries and flowers. One of the fun parts of it has been the red currant wine we make each year. This years red currant strawberry wine has been a real treat. Definitely an improvement over lawn which I suspect does not make a good wine.

Next we turned our sights across the sidewalk to our good sized front yard. It would be a bit unusual in our neighborhood to use it all as a garden so we have taken this slowly. At first my husband reluctantly agreed to a few feet of garden next to the front sidewalk. This small garden has taken off and creeps forward a foot or so every year. It has a variety of flowers in addition to ground cherries, lemon balm, sage, thyme and lovage. This summer I'm ready to add some marigolds, dill and rosemary.
I was out working in the front yard gardens today and it is great to see many plants growing already. The loveage and chives are doing well and I harvested some of both that I will make into a salad dressing tonight. My seed starting has gone well too and the marigolds are just waiting for our last frost date before making their appearance out in the gardens.

Writing about this garden brings me back to the Urban Garden Project. They had an interesting post on Front Yard Gardening in case you are thinking of giving up the lawn. If this sounds interesting to you, you are already lawnless or even if you plan to keep your lawn, I would love to read your comments here.


TSOTE said...

I miss having a garden. Back when I had a house, I was limited to a strip next to the driveway 2 feet wide and 40 feet long, plus a small 6' square that was perpetually in the shadow of the house. I only managed to grow some tomatoes, hot peppers, and radishes. I miss having fresh hot peppers.

tainterturtles said...

Isn't gardening exciting? Once you get the gardening bug, you never turn back. My husband and I have been vegetable and flower gardening for 25 years now. Every spring get more and more exciting.

Dan said...

Thanks for posting the link, I will have to check them out. I wish I had more sun as I would have the whole side & back yard full of veggies. Unforunitly there is to many big trees around me.

ChrisND said...

Your front yard garden sounds great...useful plants and looking nice. I am deciding how to begin replacing our front yard. The good thing is there is one other house on our street that has most of the front yard as garden.

I will take a look at the Urban Garden Project - thanks.

Chris said...

TSOTE- I remember the hot peppers you grew. I keep thinking that I might try growing some but I haven't had a spot in the garden for them. I usually grow two varieties of sweet peppers since more of the people I cook for prefer those. I especially enjoy harvesting fresh radishes- 2 varieties of those this year.

Tainterturtles- I never really expected we would enjoy gardening this much but you are right, the bug can really get you!

Dan- Luckily we have some sunny areas but we also have gardens in the shade. I wish there were more edible plants I could grow in those areas.

Chris- Replacing the front yard has been a lot of work but worth it. It helps that someone else around you has a front garden. I wonder what some of the neighbors think of our garden but am afraid to ask. For the first few years it looked a little rough but the front gardens are looking nicer as the plants fill out.

Kate said...

I am on a mission to become lawnless. I struggle in my front yard with having a more formal, structured look without lawn. However, I'm not giving up!

Thanks for visiting!