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Adventures in Urban Homesteading

Diary of a New Garden: Part 3

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(Part 1 of this series showed the transition from sod-covered yard to fertilized garden.)
(Part 2 showed the planting of the fruit trees and vegetable seedlings.)

First-year gardens are unique creatures. As I was preparing for the Urban Homestead Tour, I created a little welcome document for our visitors. Here is part of the introduction:

“Today you will have the opportunity to visit a number of gardens that are well-established and have wonderful, fertile soil. This is not one of those gardens. This site is an opportunity to tour a brand-new garden that was recently created, and to see photos of the conversion from grass lawn to organic vegetable/fruit garden.

Our family moved into this house in April. We removed 3,000 square feet of sod in the front yard, spread manure, and planted a garden of 6 dwarf fruit trees, fruit plants, and lots of heirloom veggies. Our first summer’s work has consisted primarily of battling stubborn grass and a stunning amount of bindweed, but we’re happy that the garden is producing food for our family. In future years we look forward to continuing to improve the soil with our animals’ manure, and (hopefully) banishing most of chronic weeds and grass through pulling, mulching, and weed-targeting insects.”

Truly, no words could do justice to the amount of rogue grass and persistent bindweed that plague the new garden. But there’s a lot of good things happening, too. Even if the tomato plants aren’t as tall as they might be with fantastic soil (etc etc), a space that was resource-consuming sod just 5 months ago is now producing food for our family. Creating a garden is really hard work, but maintaining it and improving the soil from this point forward is more enjoyable.


The view from the street. The east garden is to the left; north garden is to the right.


Nasturtiums planted around the rosebush between the two walkways. Nasturtiums are great about dropping seeds, so hopefully these will reseed themselves year after year.


The perennial fruit bed, with some very happy rhubarb, plus strawberries, blackberries (bearing fruit for the first time this year!), raspberries, and ground cherries.


Each garden has a narrow bed of edible flowers on its border. Mostly calendula, marigold, and chamomile.


The tomatillo plants are (of course) growing like weeds.


Our first year growing ground cherries, and we’re in love! All of the ripe ones were eaten today, but pulling back a plant to show some cherries that are still developing. They grow in husks like tomatillos.


Lots of big green tomatoes. When they all start to ripen, we’ll have bucket of them!


More pretty green tomatoes.


Shishito and Pasilla peppers.


A Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin, with lots of squash and melon vines in the background.


The Cocozella di Napoli zucchini plants that (predictably) want to take over the world.


One of our few eggplants, but these plants are producing very much so far.


An Armenian cucumber.


Carrots on the left, turnips on the right.


A Sugar Baby watermelon.


A few of the cherry tomato plants. We’re getting lots of ripe tomatoes from the smaller varieties, like Tess’s Land Race Currant and Sungold.


Beets, kale, and basil.


Dark Purple Opal and Sweet Genovese basil.


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  1. Wow, you sure know how to grow some beautiful food! Congratulations on your new garden, your efforts really show through. Gorgeous!

    • Thank you, Holly!

  2. What you have accomplished in less than one year is amazing. The garden is beautiful and your produce is sumptuous.

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