Planting A Front Yard Vegetable Garden
Growing vegetables in a front yard is not a new concept. Nowadays however, people tend to think of vegetables as being planted to the side or the rear of the house. Nonetheless, with vegetable prices seemingly always on the rise, why not take advantage of that sunlit spot at the front? The Victorians were certainly up for front yard vegetables and back in World War II every piece of useable ground was actively encouraged to be used for vegetables. In the US, many families had front yard "Victory Gardens". Why not create one for your own and your family's healthy eating and save some dollars too?
Make a plan
It would be a good idea before you get going, particularly if you live in an historic district, to check the local bylaws. However, a front yard vegetable garden need not be ugly. Start by selecting the sunniest spot in your yard and look towards mixing flowers with the vegetables. Edible Nasturtiums and Pansies are colorful and exotic in salads, and Sunflowers provide edible seeds.
Draw up a rough plan, taking into account just how big some of your plants will be when they are mature and consider making use of existing borders, trellis, and other existing features. Do not be over ambitious, start small and take it from there.
Consider setting up raised beds around four feet by four feet that are easy to manage, and as your vegetables are going to be on display as it were, plant taller vegetables at the back with smaller more regularly harvested vegetables, such as lettuce, herbs and radishes at the front; think perennial in terms of front yard vegetable gardening. Use a time tested method that is centuries old by mixing flowers in with your vegetables, such as marigolds, to attract those beneficial bugs. If you install or already have a trellis then these will be ideal for climbing plants like cucumbers and tomatoes. In your borders continue the "mix it up" theme and even create new attractive borders just for vegetables with plants such as arugula, carrots, herbs, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard; let your creative side shine through. With taller plants that could provoke unwelcome reactions if they are sited out in the middle of your yard, try to plant them closer to the house so they don't seem so big. Adopt an approach to blend your front yard vegetable garden into your existing garden rather than making it look like an obvious, out of character, addition.
Upsides and downsides
The very fact that your vegetable garden is out at the front means that it is on display for all to see. You may find that reactions will be mixed from positive, through non-committal, to outright opposition, hence the need to blend your garden to help prevent potential complaints to municipalities. Depending on your neighborhood, you may also find that you have security issues with theft and vandalism and possibly local pets may take a liking to your raised beds. On the upside, if your new vegetable garden was once a lawn or part of one then you have less mowing or no mowing to do. And, working outside on your yard you will have opportunities to network with passers by, possibly enhancing your social life and maybe offering opportunities too.
The greatest upside of all will be the availability of lovely fresh vegetables for you and your family, a pleasurable and healthy activity that will save you money at the store too. If you have a front yard vegetable garden what tips and experiences can you offer for those that are just setting out on the journey?