Front Yard…Making the Change from Decorative (sort of) to Functional

I felt like I needed to give a little background on how we transformed the back yard before I really started in on my gardening venture.  I’m quite a bit behind since I started most of my planting around the beginning of May.  The back yard though isn’t where I really did most of planting as I realized when I started looking through my pictures.  Living in Southern California while we are in a major drought has proven to be a bit challenging.  Our front yard was a combination of rose garden and lawn.  Neither of them looked particularly interesting.  The roses were getting decimated by the deer, also a by product of the drought.  They are beautiful and gentle and everyone always stops in wonder watching them. But, they munch on…EVERYTHING!!!   I loved them at first but they literally don’t leave a leaf untouched.  I decided that the best thing to do was to get rid of the lawn in front yard and make some changes to the rose garden.  I knew I was going to need to water the fruits and vegetables a little bit but I’d rather use the water to grow food for us to eat than to just make a lawn green.  I wish I had taken pictures before we took the lawn out so I could show the difference.  I decided to start small which is really hard to stick with once you’re surrounded by all of those little pots of herbs and veggies at the garden store.  I was pretty good though and kept my garden fairly small.  For my first season I purchased my veggie and fruit plants from Home Depot and OSH.  Now that I’m finding out that most of these plants are being treated with pesticides I’ve decided that from here on out I’m going to plant from seeds that I know are non GMO.  The ones I’ve been starting with are Botanical Interests Seeds.  http://www.botanicalinterests.com  I’ve purchased a bunch of different tomato varieties for new spring but they can also be purchased at Armstrong Garden Center.  http://www.armstronggardencenter.com

 

20140703_124123

The front yard after the lawn was removed.  I tried to repurpose some of the merchandisers that I had for my children’s clothing business to hang baskets of strawberries on.  I also was able to reuse the pallets that my merchandise was shipped to me on.  I love pumpkins and viney fruits and vegetables but they take over the yard and the fruit gets mucky from being on the moist ground.  So, I put 2 pallets together to make an A- frame.  I wasn’t sure how to attach them and decided I didn’t want to wait for my husband to get out the cordless drill so I just took ribbon and tied them together.  I decided to start off with watermelon, cucumber, cantelope, and pumpkin on the 4 A-frames.  I planted 3 different tomato plants in between the pallet A-frames.  I did some reading about pairing plants together and planted marigolds around the tomatoes to ward off pests that prey on tomatoes and so far I haven’t seen a single leaf that has been nibbled on.

20140703_124215

My pumpkin babies.  The disparity in size and the little fence is thanks to the deer.  The deer won’t touch the pumpkins once they get bigger and very prickly but they loved the sprouts and pulled some right out.  These are the only ones that I planted from seeds so I planted some more right away and kept them safe from the deer with the fence.  Damn Deer!  Everyone who drives by thinks there are so fun to see and slows down to take pictures and then get upset with me when I shoo them out of our yard.  I’ll happily send them to their house to eat their garden! lol!

20140703_124022

The cucumbers took to their transplanting beautifully!  They started blossoming quickly and growing little tiny cucumbers right away!

20140703_124056

This little watermelon just kind of sat here for quite some time not really doing anything.  It didn’t grow but it didn’t wither and die.  My daughter kept telling me that she thought it was going to die and yet I saw little tiny bits of growth so I kept hoping all would be well and upped the watering a bit on this one.  I thought…well, maybe “water”melon needs a great deal of water.  It turns out that I’ve just learned that watermelon doesn’t really need as much water as many other plants.  I just read that here.  http://theprepperproject.com/7-survival-crops-can-grow-without-irrigation/

20140703_124155

Cantelope…I love cantelope so much and I think this is the plant I’m most excited to see grow.  I have made sure with all of the vines that I’ve planted two of them so cross pollination can occur.  I’ve never made it this far with anything because I always forget to water.  But, we still have the sprinklers in the front yard so these guys may have a chance.  Very soon, we’re going to be converting the existing sprinkler system to a drip system and soaker hoses.

 

 

 

You Should Start Your Own Blog!

I think the first blog or entry is the hardest.  You want to set the tone and tell everything all at once but you can’t.  It would probably be 20 pages long and no one least of all myself would want to read it.  My brain is so full of what I want to put down on this I feel like it’s going to explode.  Now, I’m totally overwhelmed and really don’t know what direction I want to go.  I’m going to start with why I decided to do this, what (as of now) I want to blog about and what my expectations are.

I decided to do this because my husband said, “You should start your own blog!”  Actually, there was more to it.  We were taking a walk to my 5 year old’s new school….she starts kindergarten in August and we’re trying to get her used to the 5 block walk that she and I will take every morning.  As we’re walking I keep looking at houses and yards and keep commenting on all of the things they could do to make it look so much nicer.  I keep making suggestions which is when my husband says, “You should start your own blog!”  hmmm…he may actually have something there.  I started thinking about what I could blog about.  My family and I had just moved into my childhood home after discovering the extent of my mother’s dementia so I could care for her.  To make this happen we had to make it livable so I devoted myself 24/7 renovating, cleaning, destinking, demolding, de everything the house so it could be lived in while trying to care for my mother.  Once I got that done my thoughts turned to the back yard.  I now had a huge back yard and good sized front yard that I could do anything with.  That’s the why of this blog.  After doing all the things I’ve done to our front and back yards I started looking at other yards with an eye of someone who started out with one of those untended, unloved spaces.  I’ve always loved the idea of gardening just never quite mastered the art of remembering to water after the fun of the first few weeks wore off.  Pinning organic gardening ideas on Pinterest had become an obsession with me and now I had this awesome yard to do it in.  So, here I am ready to jump in and become an urban organic gardening person complete with a whole yard full of fruit trees, vegetables bursting out of my Pinterest worthy planters, happy chickens laying eggs on my doorstep and I’m dreaming all of this while I’m licking all of the wonderful white stuff out of my 12th (whatever) double stuff oreo.  I love those things!  I love Beanie Weenies.  I love Spaghetti O’s and meatballs and my most beloved beverage of all…an ice cold Coca Cola.  I’m feeling a little hypocritical but I decide to ignore that and focus on my trying my hand at growing food for us!  Too bad Armstrong , http://www.armstronggarden.com/, doesn’t have Cheetos trees…mmmm yum!

I’m right in the middle of my first season of trying to grow fruits and vegetables.  It’s all an experiment right now.  I’m starting small.   I didn’t plant a billion fruit trees.  I’m holding off on the chicken coop.  I am not planting a billion seeds all at once and getting completely overwhelmed and giving up.  This is me experimenting, making mistakes, and hopefully some successes. What I have done, what I want to do, and what actually happens  is what this blog is about.  I’m guessing there is going to be alot more…

 

Feeding the world?...not quite yet.
Feeding the world?…not quite yet.