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Vegetables in the Front Yard

A couple of years ago, my family moved to a smaller house on a small plot of land, the events of which are chronicled in my book The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken. Even if you haven't read the book, you can probably guess why we'd do it. Partly the influence of Italy, where people live in smaller spaces. But surely even more it was that search for that slippery ideal known as simplicity and less stress. Can't say for sure that we've achieved it. That's another post. Or maybe another book.

In the meantime, son number two ran into my office today, the first day of spring, and threw a clump of flowery weeds and its muddy rootball at my feet. He giggled and ran out. It was a seven-year-old's prank, and he was delighted with himself. I picked it up and was taken by the wonderful smell of spring's wet earth and envious of children who get to spend time messing around on the grass.

Now that we're here a while in this new place, we are thinking about the garden and land around us. The backyard is quite shady but the front yard gets full sun. My dear neighbor and friend suggested we dig up the front lawn and plant a vegetable garden. We're ready. Maybe even offend the rest of the block with raggedy tomato plants right in full display a few feet from the sidewalk.

I pledge, today, on the first day of spring, to do this. And I'm thinking about the gardens I saw all over Liguria where fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers all mingled quite beautifully in the front yard.  I will plant borage for my ravioli, and true tender Genoese basil for pesto.  To give myself inspiration, I watched this video about edible estates, an organization that says it's attacking the American front lawn.  Count me in.

--Laura

http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7JgenD4fdw

--LS







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Hey. I was just resting from digging up a big patch of my back yard when the link to your blog arrived. Little by little, we are eliminating our lawn. I just had an interesting jaunt on youtube, looking up herb gardens—it’s all about growing pot. Any suggestions for unusual culinary herbs? I love your blog!
xo Susie

    –  (May 03 2008 at 8:40)



Susie, Thanks for writing.  I’ve been thinking on the same thing… interesting herbs.  I learned a lot in Italy in the gardens there.  I love an herb called borage which some American gardeners use for the pretty edible purple-blue flowers.  But did you know that the leaf is edible like spinach.  It’s got an interesting taste.  You can find some at http://www.growitalian.com.  I’ve also been thinking a lot on purslane, which is very nutritious when you eat the leaves in spring, but beautiful later in flower. 

all best,
Laura

    –  (May 09 2008 at 12:52)



As a person interested in gardening, I was looking for some information and bumped into your site. I have to tell yo you have some imagination and are a good writer. To most, moving to one place to other is just a move. You were able to express it nicely in a book. Very nice. We had a big land in our house and then my dad decided to build a bigger house and earn income from rent. Which is his retirement income now. We had to sacrifice a lot of fruit trees. I miss them

    – Garden Gates (June 09 2008 at 6:23)



thanks for your comments garden gates.  we’ve made a lot of progress on our front yard garden and will soon post photos.\\--Laura

    –  (June 09 2008 at 12:26)



The youtube you have posted above was a good one to look. I don’t have a big garden but still i have a moderate place at the back of my house and i have planted herbs and vegetables. This video have inspired my to grow more.Will continue my work, thanks.

    – hinduja (July 09 2008 at 12:01)



I’ve been thinking on the same thing… interesting herbs.  I learned a lot in Italy in the gardens there.  I love an herb called borage which some American gardeners use for the pretty edible purple-blue flowers.  But did you know that the leaf is edible like spinach.  It’s got an interesting taste.

    – ram (August 01 2008 at 11:03)



I’m delighted to hear about people growing food in their front yards. I have a website and blogsite devoted to exactly that subject; i8f you have a chance, take a look at http://www.localfoodalbuquerque.com. It has a link to my blog, which is about food gardening on my small city lot. Amazing amounts of food can be grown in small spaces, and it can be very lovely. Just forget about straight rows, and plant in drifts, as you would a perennial border.
Thanks for keeping this beautiful site.

    – Heather Wood (December 01 2008 at 10:09)


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