How Does your Yard Grow?

I know the common saying is “How does your garden grow?”, but let’s be honest, most Americans have yards, not gardens. What would happen if you turned your yard into a garden?

A former co-worker of mine did that in the city of Everett, and grows most of her own food now. She even has chickens!

Here is a link to a story I read on Facebook, about a farm that rents space from city residents, and pays them with fresh produce. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/city-beet-farm-vancouver-1.5149810?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar&fbclid=IwAR1RlbA3EZF-cSNR4rr5OpFu9d2If4d3H0djA5sn54jRRE54EE4D1ZX3Lkw

A portion of my backyard has evolved over the last three years from a mowed area to a full-fledged garden this year. We started out with a couple of fruit trees with bird netting and small stakes to protect them from deer browsing. We upgraded last year to a 4 foot fence with 6 and 8 foot tall wires to discourage deer jumping. This year, we rented a sod buster and broke out all of the grass! We added edging, pea gravel paths and garden soil. The garden is now in the toddler stage with 2 apple trees, an Italian prune plum tree, 3 blueberry bushes, rhubarb, broccoli, peas, leeks (I hope they make it), green beans, tomato plants, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, and zucchini! I reuse the clam shell produce boxes to cover baby plants to prevent slugs and snail from eating my plants.

Bonus: I can hang laundry from the anti-jumping lines, increasing my drying space.

Our summer drought climate ensures that we only mow our grass from March-June or early July, and from mid-September until sogginess takes over mid-October. However, I would like to explore non-mowing ground cover plants for my front yard. We have an obscure “alternative” septic system with intricate piping under the front half of the yard, and the need for “reserve” space to move the field if the whole thing should fail. A veggie patch over all of this space may not be in my best interest. But I don’t have to eat EVERYTHING that grows here. (but I only water things that make food in the Summer, so there)

The less we mow our yards, the smaller our carbon footprint. My son, (age 11) has recently been mowing a portion of our yard. We live on 1/2 acre, and maybe 1/4 of that is mowed with a gas powered push mower. In his class, they discuss climate change. He suggested to me that we should only mow about twice a month, since it is better for the environment. I just thought he was trying to get out of work! (he wasn’t paying attention, but twice a month is all that we can GET to mowing our yard). For scale, my next door neighbor mows twice a week, Tuesday and Saturday, with set-your-watch-by-it regularity. Here is a link to a calculation you can use to see the carbon footprint of your mower: https://sciencing.com/calculate-carbon-footprint-lawn-mower-24046.html

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