the edible front yard

My kids want it all. They want swings and slides, a pool, and a garden. No, what they want is a farm! They want to grow green peppers, swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, and corn.

Last Spring, I lost control of the garden; seeds of all kind were sown in a seemingly random way. I say, “seemingly random” because when I say the garden was planted without a plan, my boys defend their “garden plan.” So I guess, I just couldn’t see their vision.

As a print designer, I arrange things. Poor composition, even in a garden, makes me cringe. I’m planning to formalize the vegetable garden space this year. As I write these words, I know any “plan” I make will be commandeered by my kids. I’m out numbered, I will probably lose control. If I’m very lucky they’ll take a shine to some of my ideas.

There are so many ways to pack planted areas in the land we have. But just using all the sunny spaces wont do. We need a plan. A plan that exist on paper, not only in the mind of a small boy. There is no shortage of printed material about garden plans. But I need a book that address my concerns about ascetics. The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler is that book.

I’m not planning to grow a row of corn next to my city sidewalk. I doubt I’ll grow any eatables in the front yard. I like her “front yard ideas” for my back yard. Incorporating curb appeal vegetables into our back yard will allow me to grow more things we can eat, without sacrificing the aesthetic qualities the space where we’ll be spending a lot of time.

The kids are starting their own garden journals, a place for them to keep their ideas. I’ve kept a garden journal for ten years. In the beginning, it was a scrapbook of all the ideas I wanted to incorporate in my outdoor space. Later, it became an archive of plant names. When one of my plants becomes a gem in the garden, I want to get more. Having complete information makes it simple to purchase additional seeds or plants. Because I want my kids to form their own ideas about what their journal could be, I’m keeping my well worn book on the shelf. For inspiration, I may show them the demo for Moleskine Passions Gardening Journal.


While we’re waiting for the soil to be ready for vegetable seeds, the kids are spending some of their garden energy staring basil and marigolds in egg cartons.

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