Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anybody Seen the Aleve?

Doesn't look like much, now does it? Hard to tell from a not-very good digital photo, but those two strips of dug up mud running alongside our front walk are my opening salvos in my attempt to slowly turn our lawn into a garden. Four hours of rather backstraining digging just to get it to that point – the next step of using the 'rents tiller will occur on the next nice day we have. My sore back and the blisters on the palms of my hands tell me that while the commercials all claim the garden claw is all you need, that's a pile of horse sh... Um. Compost.

Bit by bit, I'm going to rip out the front lawn and turn it into an edible oasis. The strips are getting planted with a mix of pansies (pretty, but more for their tastiness in tossed salads) and salad greens. I'm planting a small kitchen garden in the back, but with the huge oak tree taking up a third of our raised backyard there isn't a whole lot of sunshine to go around. Baskets will fill sunny spots on the porches, a large section of the Prime Geek's parents yard will be tilled in few weeks (I get a huge 20x90 swath to plant corn, squash, melons, and other sun lovers and get some of the bounty in exchange for losing a part of their yard they never even walk to. Sounds like a fair trade to me!), and there are even plans for window boxes for more herbs. We'll make the most of the postage stamp sized plot of land we have, just wait and see!

Now, for the question portion of this post. Any suggestions of what salad greens to mix in with the edible flowers? I'm trying to slowly introduce the food production side of yard “art” in an effort to stave off neighborhood complaints. While I don't mind being “those weird folks” on the block – the 7 foot tall Moai* statue the Prime Geek and I are planning to build and install in the center of the front lawn should prove that pretty clearly – I also don't want our dinner plans to be obviously waving at passer byers inviting them to snack.** I'm looking at greens that could, if you squint, be labeled as ornamental plants – pretty patches of green and purples, with varying heights and shapes.

Any suggestions? I know spinach (flat & curly) are going to be tossed in, mainly for the simple fact I could plant my whole lawn with the stuff and it wouldn't catch up to our recent intake! But I could use any hints or ideas you clever folk can come up with. Full sun worshiping plants are great (although I can tuck a few shade-dwellers in under our maple tree – make for quick snacks when I stretch out in a gardening break) and as we're in one of the few places in the country NOT suffering from drought, they don't have to be super drought tolerant. Frankly, anything will be easier on the environment than the water-sucking lawn I'm ripping out. (The idea of never having to start up the black cloud spewing monster of a lawn mower is also a pretty intense motivator.)

I don't care that the weather man is saying possible snow this weekend... Spring has finally SPRUNG!***

*The big glaring stone faces Easter island is famous for.
** While I don't care if a few curious kids nibble around the edges, the idea of folks too lazy to plant their own garden ripping things up by the root makes me nervous. Call me paranoid... but it IS a concern.
***Not quite the truth, I do care. The idea of any more snow makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, frankly, but I'm trying to be a grownup and put a brave face on it. A petulant grownup, but a grownup nevertheless.


Johnny said...

See if you can get hold of a copy of Geoff Hamiltons Ornamental Kitchen Garden. The idea being that you can grow veg and flowers together much better and with no pesticides and have an interesting display.

oonagh said...

good luck hon.....

don't overdo it, you want to be able to enjoy this garden, not feel like it killed you!!!

but why the statue??????

Jenna said...

I'll check for that book over at and see what I can find, thanks for the suggestion.

As to why the statue, Oonagh dear?

Um... cause?

Or rather, why not?

It will keep us entertained until I can get a certain blacksmith to make us the glow in the dark iron flamigos and magpies!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the idea of an Easter Island statue in the front lawn... as long as you don't mind all the neighborhood kids laughing, pointing, and screaming "Dum-dum, you bring me gum-gum!" a la Night at the Museum.


P.S. Let me know if you want any raspberry canes - I have red, wild black, and golden twice-bearing. You're welcome to starts of one and/or all.

oonagh said...

we're working on the flamingos and magpies......but it might be a pennsic thing!!!

(somehow, the vision of a small herd of flamingos, magpies, and ravens our front of all our tents just makes me a little giddy!! though it might piss off lyn.....)

Anonymous said...

Globe artichokes, while taller, are often put into a border purely for their beauty, they're lovely plants.

nasturtiums can also be eaten in a salad and are nice companion plants. chive flowers is another one that can be eaten, and they look nice in amongst fluffy lettuce. you can get different kinds of chive too - garlic chive. you could grow lavender, thyme, rosemary, to ring the changes. lavender can be put into sugar to flavour the sugar for baking. camomile is nice as a lawn, you can make tea from it. :)

few thoughts there for you!