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  • Results 1 to 9 of 9
    1. #1
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      Grow(ing) food, not lawn

      I follow the web site Strong Towns, and this post caught my particular attention. Also, Faye commented the other day about how the yard has evolved from being almost entirely lawn to what we have now.

      In the backyard we have a roughly 400 square foot vegetable garden and fruiting bushes - a raspberry bramble along with a red- and a black-currant. Quite a few flowering perennials, and annuals we allow to go to seed. Sunflowers grow randomly where squirrels and birds dropped seeds. Deeply shaded spots and other problem areas are mulched; there's a large patch of sweet woodruff under two of the spruce trees where don't fight growing conditions.

      Out front there's a large mulched area up against the house where we have columbine, hostas, coneflowers, cilantro that reseeds every year, ferns, and other stuff. An island bed has strawberries, asparagus, a couple dahlias, and Canada 150 tulips. We'll expand that bed and add one or more beds, moving some irises and possibly peonies from the backyard out front, adding milkweed and butterfly bushes, possibly other pollinator friendly plantings. So we have much less lawn, which we like.

      The loving care a lawn is given seems a little odd to me. It's fertilized, watered (with water treated to drinking quality!) - then mowed before it flowers let alone goes to seed. And this seemingly counterproductive behaviour (and expense) is repeated throughout the growing season. We have opted out. While we do fertilize and mow our yard we have not irrigated it in seven(?) years. We allow creeping charlie, dandelions, and clover to inhabit the lawn.

      Lawn is almost a desert for more than a few bird and pollinator species. Since embarking on our experiment we have observed a greater diversity of bird species and there are likely more insects. A monarch butterfly (maybe more than one) flitted around the backyard for ten minutes or so yesterday, and Faye saw a swallowtail.

      We will not completely eliminate all of our lawn - the dogs need a place to run and poop, and I admit I like the look. We have talked about replacing our turf with native grasses like Little Bluestem, Blue Grama, or similar that needs very little if any care once established.

      Our yard grows food for us, for birds, for pollinators and other insects. We expect to improve it's ability to do so.
      Andrew, Faye, Fitzi, and Lucy

      Not gone, only gone on ahead - Bruno, Rex, BoJo, Kendal, Kingsley, Moonpie, Avis, Corndog, Stella, and now Achilles

      I invite you to visit my blog, Hidden Content .

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    3. #2
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      That's where I hope we'll get but our lighting issues are pretty bad. I had hoped that bringing down a couple of smaller trees that weren't doing well would do the trick but I looks like we'll have to bring down our big maple which is probably a good idea because the branches are starting to drop but I hate to do it. It'll be next year at any rate. For the moment, I'm just preparing the soil.

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    5. #3
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      Three spruce trees plus a Manitoba Maple on the west side of our backyard might shorten our vegetable growing season by as much as a week on either end, as well as slow ripening times. Two or three trees will probably go away next year or the year after. The neighbour on the east side has a pussy willow and two Rose of Sharon right up against the shared property line; their shade also affects the veggie garden. That is a little frustrating.

    6. #4
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      Woody's Avatar
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      We walk past a house every day that has converted their entire front lawn into vegetable gardens. I have no idea what she does with it all. There is a lot. I just guess she cans, a lot.

      I grew up beside a family of 11. They had gardens because it made sense to save groceries. I have to wonder what the average family would save if the picked a few items they consume most and grew it themselves.

      My problem is that it's just the three of us and the girls are plain eaters. We tried cucumbers but they didn't work out. I don't think I had the proper space for them. We have to pick something everyone likes and it's hard to find.
      Thanks Everyone!!

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    8. #5
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      Our lawn has slowly decreased in size over the years. Much more in the back yard for Archie but no treating it at all. Think I forgot to fertilize it at all this year.

      The front yard is only half of what it used to be, the rest is flower gardens. DH does not like to mow. Bought an battery powered mower that I love and do most of the mowing myself, takes very little time. We don't put in a very big garden, more for the grands to grow stuff. Used to can and freeze like a maniac but not in recent years.
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    10. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
      We walk past a house every day that has converted their entire front lawn into vegetable gardens. I have no idea what she does with it all. There is a lot. I just guess she cans, a lot.

      I grew up beside a family of 11. They had gardens because it made sense to save groceries. I have to wonder what the average family would save if the picked a few items they consume most and grew it themselves.

      My problem is that it's just the three of us and the girls are plain eaters. We tried cucumbers but they didn't work out. I don't think I had the proper space for them. We have to pick something everyone likes and it's hard to find.
      Woody, try cucumbers in a planter. I did, 5 gallon bucket that a bush came in and put in good soil. Pushed the bucket up against a fence and let the cucumbers grow up it. Had bunches.

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    12. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
      We walk past a house every day that has converted their entire front lawn into vegetable gardens. I have no idea what she does with it all. There is a lot. I just guess she cans, a lot.

      I grew up beside a family of 11. They had gardens because it made sense to save groceries. I have to wonder what the average family would save if the picked a few items they consume most and grew it themselves.

      My problem is that it's just the three of us and the girls are plain eaters. We tried cucumbers but they didn't work out. I don't think I had the proper space for them. We have to pick something everyone likes and it's hard to find.
      She might donate. That's where my extras go. As for the family of 11, my father has five children. When we went to visit him during the summer, my stepmother would plant a garden and just send us outside for lunch just to get rid of us and take a few chores off her plate. The cupboards were off limits. We ate raw, all kinds of fruits and veg. In retrospect, that was probably the best thing she could have done for us.

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    14. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by POPTOP View Post
      Woody, try cucumbers in a planter. I did, 5 gallon bucket that a bush came in and put in good soil. Pushed the bucket up against a fence and let the cucumbers grow up it. Had bunches.
      I got watching some videos last night on growing potatoes in 5 gallon buckets.I could give cucumbers a shot as well.

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      Mr Kleb (08-10-2017)

    16. #9
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      Woody, have you tried snap peas? They grow to harvest quickly, can be trellised up a fence so they take almost zero room. Can be eaten right off the vine, in a salad, a stir fry, sauteed . . .


      Fran that's cool you use a battery mower. Sure doesn't spew noise and smell! I'll probably do some canning this year. House Salsa, pickled jalapenos come to mind.

      We give away our excess or sometimes trade with other folks.

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