home > article > Tomatoes at my Front Door
- by Laura, June 20, 2008
So as you loyal Jellypress readers may recall, I made a pronouncement on the first day of spring that we’d tear up the front lawn around here and put in a vegetable garden. Well, two months, three palates of stone, one borrowed rototiller, three yards of top soil, and several aching backs later, I’ve got some results to post.
We began the middle of May. First we had to bust through the sod. Unbelievably hard work. Next, we had to turn the hard clay soil. Now comes the point where I must say that my husband and I could never do this alone. This is a shared garden created with another family--our next door neighbors Arielle and David (there’s Arielle and baby Olive in the picture). And the hero of the neighborhood, Chuck, came from a few doors down to lend a hand (see him with the trusty rototiller). Note three pallets of stone on the sidewalk waiting to be laid down. Our goal was raised beds at a six-inch height, because the extra soil would be light, and workable. We didn’t want to use wooden prefab boxes because we wanted something more inspired in the front of the house. We got a bit obsessed with the stone.
Memorial Day Weekend. Turns out the stone we ordered to match the house was shaped more like boulders than flat building stones. It was not returnable. I began to sink into depression. But David allowed no such thing and instead asked for a sledge hammer and goggles. Before you know it, the men were splitting stone and grunting. My son got involved. It evidently was very cathartic for the guys in the group. People slowed their cars to watch, and the neighbors definitely took notice of our work--a mixture of admiration and pity. None of the dramatic chain gang scenes were photographed, alas. For a while, piles of broken stones were everywhere, and it was a bit worrisome. Were we fools? Was it possible? Could we build these walls? But here you see it all tidily falling into place. This is the view from my front door. Stones laid by committee. And then several wheelbarrows of top soil, manure, peat, and fertilizer put down by garden hero David.
Progress! We can’t believe we did it.
Here are our beets, coming up.
And here is our first heirloom tomato (black prince), coming from flower to fruit.
We put in a tee-pee for climbing beans.
These are baccicia beans just pushing out of their shells toward the sun. These seeds were sent to me by a reader of “Lost Ravioli” from Napa. More than a hundred years ago, Italians brought these beans to California.
We’ve also got carrots, corn, broccoli, spinach, chard, and many kinds of peppers and herbs growing, amongst flowers. This is borage… a very “not to be forgotten” vegetable with many many uses. Both leaf and flower are edible. And the bright blue flowers are beautiful. Now each day when I open my front door, I see theater and drama. Things are happening. It is a fascination and a joy.
see also: Vegetables in the Front Yard