When our friends Mike and Rhonda moved into their new house a couple years ago, their yard was just like every other in the neighborhood: green grass. Chances are, that’s what the yards are like in your neighborhood, too. But over the past two years, Mike and Rhonda have transformed their lot into something different. They’ve created what might be described as a suburban farm.
Mike ripped out all the sod and built stone walls and paths. Rhonda — a certified Master Gardener — planted berries and vegetables in the backyard. In the front yard, she created a garden of flowers, fruits, and native plants.
They’re not our only friends to do this. Craig and Lisa — whom I mentioned recently — have spent the past few years transforming their suburban plot into a network of gardens as well. Craig, in what some Oregonians might call a fit of insanity, is even growing hops this year. (Lisa writes: “Whether the plants engulf and eat the house is another question altogether.”)
Andrew and Courtney tore out a large section of their front yard to install two raised vegetable beds. Another friend, Amy Jo, has similar aspirations at her new house. Last week she forwarded this video story about suburban farming from the Wall Street Journal. (Here’s the accompanying article.)
I’m not ready to rip out our entire lawn and convert to farming. (We have too much lawn!) But Kris and I already have a kitchen garden — we grow many of our own berries, fruits, and vegetables. Someday we’d like to have chickens, and maybe even a goat.
I’m pleased that suburban gardening seems to be thriving. It may or may not be cost-effective (I’m running my year-long gardening project to find out), but the food quality is excellent and the work rewarding.
Here are some past articles related to this topic:
- An introduction to homesteading
- An introduction to square-foot gardening
- The bountiful container: Gardening in small spaces
- Gardening 101: Plan today for summer success
- The year-long GRS project: How much does a garden really save?
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