Front Yard Potager

A potager is a kitchen garden with an emphasis on a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and fruits.  It’s a wonderful concept as a replacement for the typical wasteland of a green lawn, and usually involves a raised bed format with mulched aisles. I’ve planned to turn the south side of my front yard into an informal potager–it’s slow process since I’m out farming during much of the season.

I did a little research online and found one that’s really impressive here. But the other thing I noticed about this particular front yard potager is there’s no sidewalks in the neighborhood where this garden is built.

Not that I have anything against sidewalks (in fact, I’m all for pedestrians rather than cars), but I’ve noticed that having sidewalks brings lots of undesirables, too: people walking their dogs and allowing them to run through (and defecate in) the gardens, trash dropped by pedestrians, drunks taking a whiz, kids whose parents haven’t taught them about running through other people’s gardens.

All these are big issues if you want to build a garden in your front yard that you actually expect to eat out of.  I live in one of the nicer neighborhoods in the Verm, but these are all still problems, and they make me incredibly hesitant to sow lettuce in the newly-amended bed under my apple trees, as much as that spot is ripe for growing a nice little bed of greens.

There’s a couple on the next block who have some lovely gardens set up in their yard (very Victorian, with sculpture and the like).  They’re very sweet people, but they’ve erected a pretty forbidding black iron fence around their yard. When I first saw it, I thought it was a bit of overkill, but now that I’m trying to figure out how to keep the kids and drunks and dogs out of my own gardens, I can completely see their point.

My garden won’t be as formal as the linked-to garden–the beds will be less structured and use mostly local stone from the farm rock pile (in addition to the big hunks of slate I scored from the Black Hills).  I like a more informal and contoured feel to the beds instead of straight lines and hard angles.

But before I go much further in my plans and construction, it has become clear to me that I need to fence in that part of the yard–and not just because of the aforementioned issues.  It’s also because of how my blood boils when those things happen.

I don’t want to have a stroke about it, nor be that woman–the one constantly shouting and chasing kids out of the yard. Better to just fence it and relax a little than constantly be freaking out!


2 responses

  1. I used to live in a mid-sized SD town and there was this really nice brick home right in town, not in a subdivision, that had a pretty wrought iron fence around the yard. Anyway people walking past had a tendency to throw trash into the yard, and the owners eventually put a quite tall chain link fence up on the inside of the wrought iron fence. My thought was why do people have to do things like toss their trash in other peoples yards, etc.

    • I wonder if the fence can make the problem worse? At this point, there’s some trash obviously just tossed (beer bottles) and some that blows into the yard. My major concern is less a candy wrapper than a doggie-dump, whether the owner cleans it up right away or not.

      In fact, it’s almost worse if they do clean it up because then you don’t know the lettuce you’re harvesting to eat for dinner was “dumped on.” I can’t imagine the owner ringing the doorbell to say, “Sorry, my dog crapped on your greens!” I have neighbors who are very good about cleaning up after their dogs, but they still let them go in people’s yards, assuming it’s fine as long as they scoop it.

      At any rate, I did see the owners of that iron fence today and they told me where they got it. I’ll price it and see if it makes sense to buy new or try to find something perhaps a little less glamorous, but effective and cheap.

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