April 9, 2012

Food in the Front Yard Project - Part 1

We bought our house a little more than three years ago, and for about that long, my husband has been trying to talk me into replacing the grass in the front yard with an edible garden.

I've been a holdout.

It's not that I'm a lawn enthusiast, but I am sort of biased in favor of pretty spaces.

Which is not to say that our front yard was winning any landscaping awards. But it was good enough, you know? And I had a hard time giving up good-enough grass for a garden I could only envision as rustic. At best.

So we eased in. When a patch of lawn turned brown and weedy last summer, we built a modest raised bed on top of the dead spot and planted blueberries there. Blueberries are lovely. And watching them come back to life over the past several weeks got me thinking about how living where food grows is one of the best parts of living where we live. And growing plants, I started to remember, can be a pretty fantastic part of a childhood.

I was willing to give it a try. A few days later, my husband had marked off of about a third of our front yard and we started digging.

There are at least a few ways to get rid of grass. You can smother it with tarps or straw, for example. Or, plenty of people use on Round-Up.

But in the end, shovels - while more exhausting than you'd expect- seemed like our best choice for quick results without a lot of chemicals.

Alice had the very important job of shaking loose soil off of old clods of lawn.

Those aren't freckles on her nose. They're flecks of dirt.

It took a whole day to clear the area. (I can take credit for almost none of the labor). The bummer period of our landscape project.

Fortunately, these guys were waiting out back.

Next week: planter boxes.
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