Front yard vegetable garden

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Our front yard makeover began on the night of November 30-December 1 of 2011. The avocado tree in the front yard was “deconstructed” by winds that roared through our area in the wee hours of the night (Cleaning up after the storm).

Avocado after windstorm, 2011
Avocado after windstorn, 2011

Rather than giving up on this old avocado, we called in an arborist who removed broken limbs and chipped the downed wood. I then spread the resulting mulch throughout the yard and placed the larger limbs along the edges of paths and garden beds. No green waste left the yard.

avocado tree
Lawn is gone beneath the avocado tree, replaced with mulch from the downed limbs (Dec 1, 2011). The tree, however, never recovered from the trauma. Here in October ’14 the tree is rapidly decomposing and a quick probing of the ground indicates a lack of strong anchoring roots.

Alas, the tree never recovered and in October of 2014 it started to decompose while still standing (RIP Avocado). Another consultation with an arborist confirmed our fears – that tree was coming down and to avoid the uncertainty of where it might fall, we enlisted the help of the arborist and his crew. Their skill in removing the tree piece by piece was impressive.

Front yard
Front yard with the avocado gone. I moved large containers to this sunny new garden and filled them with herbs and greens: sage, lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, and so on. The parkway and garden space near the sidewalk are planted with natives, including wildflowers, monkeyflowers, deergrass, and other flowering perennials. A bit of lawn remains on the east side for our grandkids to enjoy.

Although the large stump was removed and ground below the surface, I wanted to wait a year or two before landscaping the new open, sunny spot. The chipped wood and root matter needed to decompose a while, and the ground needed to settle. So during the first summer I planted tomatoes. And what a crop it was! I grew Sungold, Early Girl, Better Boy, San Diego and one unknown (missing label).

This winter I designed a flagstone path with a little place to sit or collect the garden harvest. It separates the vegetable garden near the house from the native plant garden by the sidewalk. The native plants will attract pollinators – both honeybees and native insects – needed for the vegetable garden. Over the past few years I have planted grasses, two manzanitas to frame the path to the front door, and accentuate the symmetry of the house and yard, and many low-growing perennials that put on an extended and showy display of flowers. The following gallery shows the installation of the flagstone.

Once the path was in, I got right to work on planting a winter vegetable garden. First the ground had to be leveled, then I used logs to make a radiating (think wagon wheel) pattern of beds to grow the following winter crops:

  1. Swiss chard
  2. Green onions
  3. Globe onions
  4. Scarlet kale
  5. Rainbow and red beets
  6. Artichokes
  7. Snow peas