As summer turns to fall, I am thinking about what I can do over the next few weeks to prepare my yard to be sustainable and healthy next spring. I recently read an article about Wade Landscaping on Seacoast Online. (You can read it here but you’ll have to sign up for a free account that gives you access to ten articles each month if you don’t have a paid account.) One of their suggestions is that to really make the plantings around your home special, use native species but also consider vegetables and herbs. This is something my wife and I have been doing since we moved into our home in 2007 but until recently we needed to keep it on the down low.
We live in an association that was built in the 1990s and when we moved in our covenants stated that vegetable gardens were not permitted. My best guess as to why this was part of the agreement to live here is that some people feel a garden in someone’s front yard can look like a bunch of weeds if it is not maintained properly. My wife and I both grew up with gardens and know that if weeds are around, the vegetables won’t produce like they should. We were confident that if we chose to ignore the rules, we could keep our garden neat and clean. But we also moved in next door to the Board Secretary, a very nice person but not someone we wanted to taunt with a full fledged vegetable garden.
After discussing it for a few months, when May rolled around we decided to plant tomatoes, basil, and collards throughout our backyard. We didn’t do too much to hide them because it is difficult to see behind our house from the street. We put the collards along the foundation near the back of the house as if they were shrubs and planted the the basil and tomatoes between the perennials. It worked well and we enjoyed some of our favorite produce. The collards really amazed us by providing beautiful leafy greens well into December and coming back strong every year since we planted them. We also continue to enjoy the many “volunteer” tomatoes plants that grow up from the seeds of the tomatoes we miss during our fall cleanup.
In 2012 the restriction on gardens was lifted and we put in two raised beds. They provide us with plenty of fresh produce but we continue to gather our collards and some of our tomatoes from the plants we put in six years ago. If you haven’t already, I hope you give planting vegetables, fruits, and herbs in your gardens a try.