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The edible yard

Really, all what's left of the lawn does is cost me time, and, if I'm not careful, money. Grass is tough, so although I've tried to kill the lawn with neglect, that's not working (and looks ugly). So the only solution is to kill the lawn by replanting with life forms that serve a useful purpose: That are edible, like vegetables or berries or fruit trees, or which attract pollinators and improve the soil, like clover. And, interestingly, formerly petroleum-driven lawn care businesses are changing their business models to answer this demand.

Again, again, again: Many small drops make a tide. Less petroleum (rent) used by the lawn care business. No corporate seed + spray (rent) regimen from the lawn care people (at least so far; it only took the corporations about a decade to subvert "organic"). Less hideous chemicals in the watershed. More niches for worms, insects, birds. And best of all, if neighbors compete, as they will do, it's going to be on the basis of living plants and not the flatness and color of an inedible, indeed poisonous mini-monoculture like the lawn.

So if you want to increase the "curb appeal" of your house, get started today! Because in ten, five, or two years, a beautiful garden is going to be a status symbol.

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basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

in a design magazine about a guy on one of the islands off the cost of Washington who put a big garden in his backyard - trees, flowers, vegetables, everything. The family behind him was so impressed that they asked him if he would expand the garden into their yard. He did. One by one, the neighbors asked for an extension of the garden until the entire "block" was a green, vibrant garden rather than a series of backyards with surrounded by fences guarding an above ground pool. The photos were gorgeous.

So, yeah, it can happen.

Submitted by gmanedit on

and the perfume was intoxicating. One of my rants about the modern world is about beautiful unscented roses.

Rose hips are an excellent source of Vitamin C. The Internet says the darker the rose the better, so plant red roses.

Submitted by cg.eye on


What would stop folks who think nothing of letting their dogs shit on my lawn, from picking any fruit or vegetable I grow? What would stop any hoodlum from pulling plants out of the soil, to resell?

Submitted by Lex on

Don't get me wrong, i like ornamentals...though shade ornamentals are far more attractive to me than full sun varieties, which works out well because not much productive gardening can be done in the shade. (Though you can tuck some leafy greens into a shade bed for midsummer greens when they'd bolt in the sun.)

I don't even have a real problem with lawns though i think they're pretty much worthless. And you can have an attractive lawn without heavy fertilizer and pesticide usage.

The rest of my summer. And next summer. And probably the summer after that will be spent putting the yard we just bought into shape. It will be an edible yard. The front is quite small and shaded by the house and a locust tree, so it will be ornamental and some grass (grass in the shade is super easy to grow without lots of chemicals).

The back - and it's a 50 x 150 lot with an open lot to the south and tree coverage only to the east - will be where the good times roll. There will be at least four fruit trees (two peach and two cherry, because i love both, the cherry trees are small and unlike the outlying areas i can grow peaches). The back fence will be covered with hops. The north fence line will have rhubarb and asparagus. There will be at least three 4x8 raised beds (minimum 16" deep and filled with my buddies fish compost) and a small greenhouse. A fourth bed is a distinct possibility, and at least two beds will be designed for short hoop house covering. At least six grape vines will climb the deck posts. The back yard will be divided from the side/front by a large cluster of small fruits (cranberry bush, currents, gooseberries and blueberries).

I've got plenty of room after that, but i won't be making plans for it until most of the above (minus the greenhouse) is up. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but most of it will be done this summer and i get plants at a steep discount. Next year i'll drill a point for water. I live on a swamp that was drained and filled 70 years ago; in the back of the yard you start hitting muck between four and five feet, 10-15 gets you clear water. (if the fruit trees behave like the box elder i cut down, they'll go hydroponic...20 years and that tree was close to thirty feet tall and every ring was 1/2" thick)

I plan on having the nicest looking and most productive yard in the city, and there'll be very little turf...but it will be perfect, organic and mowed with my reel mower.