Growing Beyond the Garden

nton-small-iconRelatively speaking, our garden is small. In the past, we’ve designated two narrow beds in back for vegetables and managed to shoe-horn in about half a dozen tomato, eggplant and pepper plants along with some basil, cucumber and pole beans, most of which we grew vertically in cages or along trellises or running up ropes towards the sun. I’ll admit to longing, though, for sprawling zucchini and melon vines, and beans that bloomed at a height my daughter could reach without having to sit on Daddy’s shoulders.

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And then about a month ago, inspired by the creativity of urban gardeners, I began to look at my yard differently. Suddenly, I saw those spots in the front where weeds had choked out the chocolate cosmos not as eyesores, but as sunny spaces for zucchini to unfurl. The narrow strip of bare earth along the side of the house, where leggy dahlias had once stood, now beckoned me to bury some seeds. 

I complied and today, sunny orange squash blossoms mingle with the hues of our Joseph’s Coat roses in the front yard, a watermelon vine snakes along the edge of a walkway and the broad, green leaves of bush beans ripple in the breeze beneath our fig. Allowing myself to mingle fruit, vegetable and flower has turned our whole yard into a virtual garden and will bring us nearly half again the amount–and variety–of food as in years past.

This week, suss out your own yard and pick a place you might be able to tuck a stray vegetable or two. Then see how much pleasure the bonus brings to both yard and table throughout the summer season.

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