There are lots of front-yard gardens in the town where we live, and quite a few people are very passionate about gardening and sustainability. And using your front yard for growing vegetables is kind of the essence of sustainability, don't you think? Well, the other day me and my mother-in-law went along on a guided tour of these neighborhood front-lawn gardens, and boy was it easy to get inspired by all these different spaces. I mostly enjoyed hearing these homeowners (and renters in many cases, don't they have supporting landlords!) talk about the way they are utilizing their spaces and their techniques in terms of soil, watering and methods of growing. Not to mention, I also found out about some pretty neat new plants that I hadn't even considered, which would be cool to eventually plant in our yard.
Quite a few people were using containers to grow different things. This was especially true when there were renters who wanted to maximize the space, and perhaps their landlord didn't want them to tear up all of the grass on the front lawn... This zucchini plant seems to be doing pretty well in this large container!
People were raving about this kale plant and it looks gorgeous. I love using kale in cooking, but I've never seen this kind in the grocery store. Of course I forgot the name, but I'll find it somehow. Maybe for next year?
Isn't this a neat spread for a front lawn! Check out the covered sandbox in the front, isn't that a good idea! That way the little kiddos can be entertained while their parents are working in the front.
Here was another nice example of a container garden. This man drilled a hole at the side of a large container and then used a false bottom which he planted stuff on.
Let's take a closer look. See the hole at the side? He fills the container up through this hole with water.
And then he places this fake bottom over which have these tubers on it which are touching the water underneath. That way the plants will have a continuous source of water and you don't have to bother with it everyday. He said he refills these boxes every five days or so with water and he mentioned this works really well for potatoes and other plants that like an even water supply.
Here is another cool example. Tomato plants grown directly in haystacks. I didn't see any dirt in here. Kind of a hydroponic version without the water?
One of the houses we visited had this mobile greenhouse parked in the driveway. This family didn't have a car (hey, it's granola Oregon, and this family goes everywhere by bike!), so instead the driveway had become the home of this greenhouse on wheels. I think the idea of putting perforated plastic on top of a trailer, and thereby creating a mobile greenhouse was really interesting.
Have you ever heard of an arugula bush? I hadn't! This is arugula, in bush format. I tasted some and it was delicious. The bush is beautiful and I love the idea of just trimming it from time to time to add some arugula to your salad!
This is a kiwi tree on top of a pergola. A kiwi tree! Isn't that cool. Apparently it takes four years or so before you get any fruit and you have to be careful with the pruning because the guy said he pruned it wrong one year which led to a one year delay in getting a crop. But this tree was beautiful indeed and very nice on top of the pergola he had surrounding his front yard. He said the fruit matures in September and is delicious.
We also went by the local high school that has a nice garden. Although, what caught my attention there wasn't exactly the garden so much as these outside sink tables which are hooked up to a hose. We have actually been talking of creating something like this: an outdoor cooking area with a sink hooked up to the hose, hence no additional plumbing required. I like the idea of this table and they seem well made of cedar 4x4s and 2x6s, except the top which was plywood. The plywood wouldn't be able to take the rain at all, but if you put on a different table top (wouldn't stainless steel be awesome, or maybe tile), then isn't this a nice idea - for cooking as well as gardening...
So overall there was a lot of inspiration to be gathered at this walk. We had a good time and the weather was beautiful. Now I'll just have to see if I can incorporate any of these ideas around the house in the future.