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Front yard and Community Gardening

Hey, in these hard economic times as well as in flow with the Green movement I've been hearing more and more about people gardening. I personally have been gardening my whole life but this is my first year doing front yard gardening. Also, a couple friends and I started a community garden for all the people around our neighborhood to come together and grow things.

I noticed that when I gardened in front(couldn't in the back because of no sun) that the people walking past, or even driving past interact alot with me and it's been incredibly fulfilling. Of course the super fresh, sun warmed and organically grown fruits and veggies are the biggest bonus.

Anyone else doing gardening this year? What have your trials and successes been? We can all learn here!



  • edited October 21

    Hey troublesjustabubble!!

    We are gardening this year. Woo-Hoo!!! Tons of cucumbers (we love to juice those babies) Tons of Basil (two different varieties. Growing enough to freeze, so I can have pesto in the winter), Beets, dill radishes, lettuces (I am currently addicted to Oakleaf lettuce - Love the Stuff! :)), Spearmint, Avocado trees have sprouted and are taking off. chives, tomatoes

    You get the picture. Having a blast! Just received the Lasagna Gardening book for Mother's Day

    from my Mother. So Sweet!! Loving the book!

    Since we do not have enough yard space where I am located, we grow our produce in pots and 5 gallon buckets. Was having a brief problem with the slugs, but nipped that in the bottom. Sprinkled some sand around my plants (especially the lettuce), then picked up some cedar shavings at the pet store. Came back home and put that over the sand.

    Slugs No More!!! Yippee!!!


    The sand and cedar shavings are like glass to slugs and snails. Cuts their little bodies. When they realize it is there, it is like they have sensed danger and will stay away.

  • wow, good tip on the slug issue. I haven't had a problem with them this year but they're everywhere around my house.

    You're growing so many things I'm not! Where do you live? I think your climate is different. I've been trying to sprout avocados forever and haven't had any luck yet. ha.

    I'm growing,


    lettuce(all different kinds and I love them!)


    Swiss Chard

    Collard greens

















    In the community garden we're growing so much I couldn't make a list of it. haha. This is my biggest garden to date and I'm really excited about it. I've had nothing but a wonderful time.

    Hey, do you have any tips on sprouting avocados?

  • I have the PERFECT online community for you! Are you familiar with the amazing Dervaes family in California (they grow thousands of pounds of produce on one tenth of an acre). Front yard, back yard, side yard ... it's a freedom farm revolution! :)

    Their online community has LOTS of tips, forums, inspirational stories and more.

    Big fun at http://freedomgardens.org/home.php


  • OH my goodness you're right! It's awesome! Thank you!

  • edited October 21

    Hey!! :)

    We are in the southwest part of GA. If I remember right you are in MO about three hours from my mother and family. Grew up in Springfield. We have a 1000 acre farm about 1 1/2 hours from Springfield that has been in the family for 5 generations. It was beautiful growing up there!! Did not really learn to appreciate it until I became older. My mother and I are very close and talk often. She is like an expert gardener in my opinion. Has a lot information of the old ways forgotten. We discuss our gardens often. Yesterday, she just called to tell me she was running into a lot of snakes. Yuck! I told her trouble was a brewin'.

    Anyhoo - I actually was able to help my mother with the topic on hand. You can purchase a $3.00 to $5.00 40 lb. bag of lime and sprinkle it around your property to keep the snakes away. They do not like lime and that way no one gets hurt. Lime will also keep cats and dogs from relieving themselves in your yard. If they do walk in it and then lick their paws it will make them sick (throw-up), but it will not poison them. You can also put orange peels out to keep cats out of your plants. They do not like the smell of oranges. If you get the lime on your skin it will dry it and will start to burn. So try not to come in contact with it and wash your hands in cold water immediately after using.

    I know that was off track, but I thought I would share the tip.

    I cannot wait to have a place with more land!! Everything you are growing sounds completely scrumptious and divine!! It is so rewarding and magically to watch the things I plant from seed grow. There is nothing like it!! You are growing so much!!! It sounds completely Heavenly!!! You have to feel so complete and proud! Especially of your communtiy garden!! Big Smiles! :) I remember when you were discussing that. Still in the back of my mind...not forgotten. Opportunity has not arisen...yet. Avocadoes - No, I believe you can do it. I just sprouted them differently then most people do. I think most people use the toothpick in a cup of water trick to sprout. No, not us. It actually started off as a science experiment of sorts for my homeschooled dd and I. We had 3 organic avocado seeds and decided to wrap them up in a moist to damp paper towel. We then put them in a sandwich bag left open. Left it in a dark area on our kitchen counter for about 6 weeks. When we checked them they had germinated. We were so surprised and happy. We were about to give up. We then planted them in a 10 1/2 " diameter by 10" in height terra cotta flower pot. It has been about 8 weeks now and they have finally sprouted up through the ground. Showing their stocks and standing proud. One measures at 3/4", the second one measures in at 1/2", and the third one is thriving at 6" in height. Just started putting off three leaves at 6 inches. They remind me of aspargus. About two to three weeks ago we did not know if they were going to sprout up from the dirt.

    So we are currently have four more avocado seeds that have germinated and need to be planted now. Just remember when you plant them to plant them about 6 inches down. The avocadoes seem to be all about six. Six weeks to germinate, plant six inches in the soil, and six weeks to sprout. :) Once you get them going make sure you check out some youtube footage of people growing their own indoor and outdoor avocado trees. 

    Here are some links for more avocado information...




    Have you planted in edible flowers or wild edibles? We have Daylilies, Marigolds, and Vinca/Periwinkle growing. I heard that Marigolds are suppose to keep the squirrels away. Supposably they do not like Marigolds. They seem to be working this year, but just in case I have some mothballs on hand. I do not want to put the mothballs around my produce, but I do know squirrels do not like them and will stay away. I would like to get some Nastriums planted. I love those in salads! I would also like to start growing some Stinging Nettle to throw in our smoothies.

    They are full of amazing health benefits.

    Here is a link to Sergie Boutenko discussing them...

    Okay...so I have completely written you a book, if not a chapter of a book. I am going to go spend some time now...getting my hands in the dirt.

    Smiles!! :)

  • Territa - Awesome site!!! :)

    Thanks!! I love hearing and sharing gardening stories!

  • Wonderful! I'm definitely going to sprout my avo seeds that way. The whole tooth pick in the cup thing isn't workin' out for me at all. Thanks for the tip!

    1000 acres! I'm jealous! That's an insane amount of land these days. I wish I had more land but I'm making due with what I've got. I love love love gardening and being outside.

    Thanks for remembering the community garden idea! We actually did it! I was absent for a big part of the beginning because my husband was running for alderman in our local city council so I had to campaign but we're full tilt now! There have been endless hurdles but we're overcoming them one by one!

    I actually have no problem with pests right now except for a pesky squirrel who likes to dig wholes around but so far hasn't done any real damage. I did notice recently that the reason my tarragon(I have a massive herb garden as well) wasn't growing was because a black bird was munchin on it! I've never seen that before! I'll definitely consider some marigolds. Can't go wrong with that.

    Do you do square foot gardening? I've loosely based my home garden on it and we're using it for the community garden and it's awesome! Next year I'm going to be far more strict with my home garden

  • edited October 21

    I would really like to square foot garden, but do not have the yard or area for that at this time. When I have the opportunity to begin a community gardening... I would like to use the square foot method. Currently,(in GA) all of my produce is grown in flower pots or 5 gallon buckets. My mother (in MO) has a 50' x 40' garden. My grandmother lives across the dirt road and has a 50' x 40' garden as well, if not a little bit larger.

  • mdcmdc

    For those gardening, have you heard of this? It's called Veggie Trader. It offers a way to be good stewards of your bounty rather than letting anything go to waste when you get a bumper crop that's way more than you can use.


  • mdc- good link! I never even have enough and when I do I take it to my neighbors but I think that's an awesome idea. maybe some day when I have a huge garden I'll be able to use it. I love things like that.

  • Hey Grew up in SPFD too. And THINKING of moving to GA if I could get a job there. :D cool.

    Anyway, for me I am growing lots of greens, and herbs. Greens are what I eat the most of, and seem to have a LOT of pesticides, so I figured I would do that. I also have a strawberry garden (wild and conventional), and some friends and I are going to be sharing produce. :) It's nice. Though a branch overgrew above the garden this year, and it's too high to do anything with (plus I'd feel guilty), so it's a bit too shady. I am thinking of doing some more greens right next to the house in tubs.. My poor lavender is being drowned by the late showers (april showers bring may floewrs-BAH! May showers, kill lavender flowers, YAH!). :) so anyway.. I am happy to hear abou the community garden and everyone's ideas. I didn't know about the lime and snakes thing, and that is good to know, living in ht ecountry, and having millions of copperheads.

    So are we three Missourians then? hehe I knew I liked you both. :)

  • edited October 21

    have_mersey -

    That is too Wild!!! :D Yep!! Cool people come from MO. Sorry to hear about your lavender. I have found it to be challenging to grow lavender. Although, it could just be the goober in me. hehe I have tried many a times. Just doesn't make it through a whole season. Someone once told be it was difficult to grow. Your strawberries sound delicious. Nothing like a home-grown strawberry in rich soil. Pure Sweetness!! The best strawberry I have ever had to date was when I was just a tot. They came out of my grandmother's garden (in MO soil of course - hehe :)). Straight off the plant. Not had one that juicy or sweet to this date. Ohhh, Pure Sweetness!!! lol

  • Lavender detests humidity (I think).

    We are growing four different tomato varieties, zucchini, cucumbers, about seven different bell peppers/hot peppers, eggplant, and corn (never works out, but we keep trying). We still have artichokes, kale and chard from winter planting - hoping they hang in there as long as the weather isn't too oppressive. For herbs there's rosemary, basil (which I don't have good luck with), thyme, sage, stevia, tarragon, and oregano.

    Almost all of this is in the front yard this year so it's impossible to neglect!

  • sausoria-Front yard gardens rock.

    My lavender has done well this year but this is my first growing it since I'm more of a practical gardener and lavender has never seemed practical to me but this year I just wanted it for some reason and it's worked out quite well.

    Missouri rocks! Except that the weather is unpredictable.....I get maternal about my plants in bad weather.

  • Troubles,

    I think that it's fantastic that you are planting your own vegetables and fruits! I wish I could do that, but unfortunately I live in an apartment in Los Angeles... eek! I use lots and lots of lemon and my husband loves avocados; I see them go out like candy and always wish I had my own tree! How is organic gardening? I've always wondered how difficult it is to keep the little critters from ruining everything.

  • Well growing organic ain't easy. Sometimes frustrating but always worth it when the veggies are ready to eat because I know that they are completely chemical free and all natural. I love it:)

    I don't have as many problems as some and I feel blessed.

    If you have a sunny window you could grow lemons and avocados! You live in LA and I'm jealous of your warmth!

  • Hey! My husband and I have a front yard garden also - mostly because this is the only place to put one. We live in an old mill village house in the city of Atlanta - we have no backyard, the side yard is small, totally landscaped and very shady, the other side of the house is a driveway. This only leaves the front - which there is not much of either. There is a path that goes across the front of the house - We cut away lots of ivy so we have a very narrow garden between the path and the retaining wall that holds everything together!

    Never-the-less we have planted some tomatoes (two of which were volunteers from the compost we mixed in with the soil earlier in the year!), red peppers, jalapenos, onions, basil!, parsley, oregano, cilantro and thyme. We already have huge rosemary bushes growing in our yard.

    We are not very good gardeners and didn't do well with the garden last year - partly, maybe, due to neglect and the drought (the rain is amazing this year!). Also we had planted some tomatoes right next to the foundation of the house and although they produced some, they seemed to have gotten some disease and the leaves turned brown. Some one mentioned that they could have been poisoned by termite chemicals in the ground. We did not plant anything next to the foundation this year.

    I am also from MO - St. Louis. My parents gardened a lot when I was in my teens, but never taught me anything about it - maybe I didn't seem interested.

    I am envious of everyone's big gardens! Please post updates on how they progress.

    Would love to grow an avocado tree. How long till they start producing fruit?

    Thanks for all the tips! I am saving this thread in case I need to refer back to it to get rid of pests.

    Have_Mersey - I absolutely love it here in Atlanta! Come on down!

  • duwan- I think I will!

    It is rain killing the Lavender this year, but I wondered why they were so unhappy last year (I had three varieties!!:( ), and I think it WAS the humidity. Missouri can be bad about that. The least humid place in my house also has the least sun.. But I think I will bring it in now. It's drowning out there...

    troublesjustabubble- I know, I won't plant anything that is not edible or medicinal. Lavender is both, as well as being fragrant and beautiful. So it won me over. :)

    I have got to weed the strawberries! They are screaming neglect (weeds; I didn't put down straw or anything)! How do you keep turtles away? They aren't sanitary creatures, but I'd let them stay if they just finished some of the berries they started, instead of eating a bite out of every single one.. my wire fence should have been buried a bit, but it's too late and I won't play "should-have, could-have".

    This is so nice. Talking about gardens and bonding.. And I find it neat about the Missouri and Georgia connections. :D

    Well, I am off to pull some weeds, unless it gets too hot...

  • Hello everyone !

    I have been gardening since 3 years, before that I didn't know a thing about it !

    I suggest that you read something on Permaculture. I have the book Gaia's Garden, and I love it.

    Apart from being amazingly sustainable, it is a minimum-labour gardening method (you plant stuff in a way that you DON't need to weed, because the weeds don't come up). You also don't spray, and most of the time you don't need to water anything either. Practically, you create the garden in such a way that you could leave it alone for a year or tow, and when you would come back it would be growing well and happily.

    "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."

    Bill Mollison (from the permaculture.net website)

    This definition of permaculture expresses a basic concept in permaculture - examining and following nature's patterns. Permaculture advocates designing human systems based on natural ecosystems.


    Permaculture recognizes, first, that all living systems are organized around energy flows. It teaches people to analyze existing energy flows (sun, rain, money, human energy) through such a system (a garden, a household, a business). Then it teaches them to position and interconnect all the elements in the system (whether existing or desired) in beneficial relationship to each other and to those energy flows. When correctly designed such a system will, like a natural ecosystem, become increasingly diverse and self-sustaining.

    All permaculture design is based on three ethics: Care of the earth (because all living things have intrinsic worth); care of the people; and reinvest all surplus, whether it be information, money, or labor, to support the first two ethics.

    Practically speaking, a successful permaculture design is based on three guiding principles. First, each element of the system performs multiple functions (for example, an orange tree in my yard supplies fruit for food and a cash crop, rinds for compost, leaves for mulch, dead twigs for kindling, and shade for me, my cat and other plants).

    Second, each desired function of the system is supported by multiple elements (further shade in my yard comes from an overhead trellis with grapevines and several native trees).

    Finally, and crucial to permaculture design, everything in the system is innerconnected to everything else. This is vital, because the susceptibility and output of a system depend not on the number of elements it contains, but rather how many exchanges take place within the system (think of an old growth forest vs. a monoculture tree farm).

    some interesting videos:

  • Hello all, I need a few pointers about soil.

    I have relocated to Northern Arizona, and this is my first season growing in this dry of an invironment. I just finished building my garden boxes and getting the drip system setup. I have some soil from my worm bin, and compost, and the soil around my property is very much clay. I want to minimized buying dirt (really what is that)! I was wondering if a 50/50 mix of clay and compost would be ok for tomatoes, pepers and probably just squash. Also, I'm getting a little bit of a late start this year due to moving and would welcome any late season produce, that doesn't mind 90+ weather.

  • eternal-I love permaculture! We're using it for our community garden and so far it's been really lovely. I can't wait til next year when our garden is established.

    have-mersey-you're right about lavender but my problem is that I don't care for the taste of it. The flowers are gorgeous and the smell is lovely though. What medicinal qualities does it have?j

    Isn't this rain amazing! I hope you other Missourians are getting it! My plants are thriving and I just noticed that my carrots finally sprouted! I had lost hope........but then again, I lost hope with all my seeds consecutively and they all came up so maybe I'm just paranoid. haha

    rubber duck-I'm pretty sure you'll be alright with your soil. But make sure to increase the ratio of compost to clay each year by adding a bunch more compost. You'll by great to plant any summer seeds!

  • edited October 21

    WOW!! troublesjustabubble :)

    This thread is really growing! This is wonderful!!! :) 

    have_mersey -

    I believe the fence is the best way to keep turtles at bay. However, here is a thought for you...snakes and turtles are both reptiles, so I guess you could consider sprinkling some lime around the perimeter of your strawberries. Turtles can be beneficial for giving back and eating snails and slugs. However, I do not have a turtle/strawberry raid going on...but I am a turtle lover. Fond childhood memories of finding them out in their natural habitat and watching them. I am one of the crazy ones... known for stopping the car to help them get across the road safely. (Was taught...find a rock, put it back where and how you found it. You can't tell there is a Biology teacher in the family at all. hehe :))

    duwan -

    This is our first year sprouting and trying to grow avocadoes. I have read it takes 3 years before it will produce fruit. But I have seen some youtube footage where people seem to have avocadoes after a year of growing their tree. So, I am not sure when we can expect fruit, but will keep you up to date.

    rubber duck -

    Just a thought...Have you considered Lasagna Gardening? It could be something you might want to look into, consider, or apply some of the techniques of.

    the_enternal_voyager -

    Love the information!!

    I have been looking at the following two books. "Introduction to Permaculture" and "Permaculture: A Designers' Manual" both by Bill Mollison.

    Overcast and Rainy. Muggy and Sticky.

    My plants are lovin' it!!


  • Simplyraw-I totally started an avocado seed the way you said to and now I'm waiting! I hope it works well. I would love to grow avocadoes!

    I just got a HUGE bag of spinach and lettuce from my friends garden because they were producing more than she could use. How awesome is gardening?! I use my spinach and lettuce so much it doesn't get much of a chance to grow so big..note to self, make a larger greens bed next year.

  • edited October 21

    troublesjustabubble -

    I am sure it will sprout. Try to germinate more than one avocado pit/seed. We germinated three the first round, then four the second time around. Planting two or three trees together can enhance pollination. Our four pits didn't need 6 weeks to germinate. They germinated in about a 2 to 3 week time period. It was probably due to the change in temperature and season. Warm and humid...perfect germinating elements.

    Anyway, I am so excited for you!! WooHoo!!! Grow Avocado Grow!! :) Keep me updated!!

    I am going to re-post those two avocado links (preparing for our fruit)...



    I know what you mean, in regards to more greens ... just do not grow enough or fast enough. I tend to have to visit our local farmers market to get more from time to time. So lucky that you have a friend who did grow more than enough!!! :) I find myself thinking more greens please. Love my greens!! :) So delicious when they are freshly grown. Green Goodness 4 Life. I would be so happy if someone showed up on my doorstep with a HUGE bag of spinach and lettuce. Yummy!!

    Here are two links that one of my local farmers sent out. I thought I would share.

    It is not much, but I found them inspiring. The young couple at the end of the first

    video is one of our local farmers.

    FARM! trailer (1 minute 48 seconds)


    WHO GROWS YOUR FOOD? trailer (4 minutes 18 seconds)


    Suasoria -

    I thought I would share my story and some of the information I recently learned about growing basil. For the last couple of years I thought basil was just a really easy herb to grow. We grow it in flower pots on our front porch. We live in an old historical house, where the porch is covered facing the east. One year I had about 8 flower pots of basil.

    I was sharing my abundance with friends. Anyway...my point being I just assumed.. wow, this stuff is easy to grow. But this year, I pick up a copy of "Grow" (www.vegetablegardener.com) which had a whole article on how to grow a bed full of basil. I soon realized why my basil grew so well. Basil is a warm-weather plant (germinates best in high temp.) and basil seedlings love cloudy, cool, and still weather. Ahhh...I then realized this why my basil grows so well on my front porch. in the heat of the south. Plenty of heat (humidity), covered porch = cloudy, catches cool breezes from time to time, but most of all it has nothing but still weather (covered from all the spring and summer storms). My basil has its own hot house in a sense...where it can admire the changing weather untouched. I still think it can be and is an easy herb to grow. But I now understand why Ihave such an abundance.

    If you guys see a copy of "Grow" (volume 1 - 2009), I hope you check it out. I do not usually pick up magazines, but every page was packed full of information(minus the pesticides). We have also created raw versions of the recipes shared throughou the magazine. We have sprouts and critters to tend to. Going to do some transplanting and we are going to plant one more round of seeds. My dd has critters (tadpoles) she pick up about 2 1/2 wks. ago. Have to go get them some more creek water. What a day it is going to be!!!

    Sprouts and Critters!!!

    I apologize for all the long posts.

    Hope Everyone has a Happy and Beautiful Day!! :)

  • Yay! Simplyraw-I love you long posts, they're so full of information, love and encouragement.

    I AM lucky to have gardeners in my neighborhood. There are only some I trust to grow organically but as far as greens go there is absolutely no need for pesticides since they grow so fast and so early. I love my greens. I did notice that my perception of swiss chard may have always been tainted. Here's a question, is swiss chard supposed to be earthy and bitter? Mine always has been and so has my families but my friend's chard was incredibly mild and delicious. I ate it by the handful! Now I'm wondering if that's how it's supposed to be. I'm going to find out what kind of seeds she uses and grow them next year.

  • Blue_EyesBlue_Eyes Raw Master

    wow this is a great thread, so much info, makes me wish i was spending more time at home.

    my parents always had huge gardens but like others i was young and did not appreciate it. so i did not try to learn anything. Had a vegy garden for two yeai rs did not do too bad until the huge yellow spider moved in then those even bigger spider like the size of my hand (there were brown and furry and someone told me they were wolf spiders)started coming in and i quit eek

    then I had a big beautiful flower garden for about eight years and now my yard i have now has absoultely nothing but grass and weeds. And i am out on the road to much to change it.

    everyone is bringing back memories wish i had you all to chat with back when so much I never knew.


    when spouting the avacodos do you mist them in the bag every so often or just leave them alone.

    how often do you water them once in the pot. do they like it wet or mostly dry

    i have tried the toothpick method also but nothing happened. would like to get some started for my daughter.

  • Trouble - Thanks for the reassurance, I was fairly certain I would be ok, but it's nice to have some backup!

    I have started sprouting some avacodos, we shall see what happens.

    Simply Raw - I think I will incorporate some of the lasagna gardening techniques, but tilling in this area is a must, it would take me awhile to layer enough compost to start growing. We also have to worry about attracting javalinas out here too. Thanks for the suggestion though, I had forgotten about this technique and I'll see what I can do to incorporate it.

    I can not wait for some tomatoes! There is nothing better then tomatoes right out of the garden, even vine ripe organic tomatoes can not compete.

    Happy growing all!

  • Hey Rubber Duck! Glad you're getting stuff out of this thread! I love talking about gardening.

    Tell me if you have luck with your avocados. I'm awaiting mine with great patience. It's exciting to try a new technique.


  • Hey Have_mersey/Troublesjustabubble...almost all plants are "practical," it's just that their usefulness may not be apparent to us humans. Consider plants that produce berries that are inedible to humans - well, they may be edible to birds, and that makes them practical. So consider some native ornamental perennials, flowering trees, etc. Viva biodiversity!

    I consider it part of my job as a gardener to create a hospitable place for local birds and bugs. It isn't just for me and my needs. Your veggies won't be pollinated as effectively if you don't attract bees with lots of blooming plants. You won't attract good bugs to prey on the bad bugs unless you provide them with shelter that's to their liking. You won't have as many friendly birds if there aren't hedges or shrubbery for them to hang out in. And so on.

    I'm actually less of an "edible" gardener than I am an ornamental gardener. I love cool specimen trees and plants that give year-round flowers. You are welcome to check out some of my plants here...


  • sasuaria-I totally understand what you mean. I try to keep some flowers going but my true passion is growing produce. Just as yours is growing flowers. I have limited space so I have to choose what to put and I never have enough space for my veggies and fruits! So that's why I generally go with 'practical' plants. I love flowers to. Some day I'll have room for both!

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