Saturday 27 July 2013

Integrated garden: "Pardon me, is that a cucumber in your front yard?"

Growing vegetables integrated within flower beds is an idea that has been around for a long time but is becoming popular again.  I find I don't always have room for all my vegetables in the backyard so squeezing in a few more in my sunny front yard is a great solution.  Since fruit tree's need a lot of sun, the best place for them is along a strip of my front yard that gets the most sun.  In past years, we've kept the neighbourhood entertained by growing pumpkins near the sidewalk.  Pedestrians of all kinds stopped to admire it and also fretted about the possibility that it could be smashed to ruins.  The pumpkins have always survived the season and made great pies and jack o'lanterns.  Last year planting pumpkins got missed and passerbys asked me what happened.  The fact is,  last year I spent a wee bit more time growing a newborn over growing front yard vegetables! Here are a few more pics of vegetables mingling with my perennials:

Rainbow Chard planted from seed in May mixed with vanilla marigold and Japanese blood grass.  Chard is often recommended as a front yard veg as it blends well into a flower bed.
Cucumber and pumpkin beneath fruit trees and roses in a recently expanded bed.  Cuc's and pumpkins aren't usually recommended in a flower bed as they tend to take a lot of room and the leaves start to look ugly late in the season but it works for me! 
Red cabbage and Hostas in Shannon's front yard.


  1. I love this idea of mixing flowers and veg. As to the pumpkins on the sidewalk, it's a different interpretation of community garden! I'm glad everyone has been respectful of your produce to date. I had a community plot under the Joyce skytrain when I lived in Van and found most people were respectful even without locks on the gardens. As well, it was a great way to meet your neighbours and strike up conversations.

  2. Yes, gardening in public or in the front yard really is a great conversation starter and nice way to interact with neighbours. I am glad your Joyce Station plot thrived without any security; restores a bit of my faith in humanity. Also inspires me to expand our school atrium garden out into the playground without adding more chainlink to the yard.