Written by: Mari Korhonen
In April we put together a little “permablitz” event to help a friend and a neighbor to transform his front yard into an edible exploration to sustainability and cutting food miles into food-steps.
Getting started with growing your own food requires special attention, and often gardens and vegie patches located at the back corner of the yard tend to get forgotten or neglected. So, the closer to your daily living zone – Zone 1 – your garden is located, the more often you are likely to pass by, notice what’s going on, what might need attention, and also enjoy watching and nibbling on the bounty of green.
This case we found a perfect spot for the first time home vegetable garden right in front of the veranda where there currently was an exhausted lawn and a set of south facing terraced steps, carefully covered with weed mats and a layer of pebbles. There is a direct sight to the spot from the main living areas of the house and it is also next to the rest of the yard where a lot of time is spent playing with the child.
The plan was to convert this currently unproductive area into a vegetable garden that would supply the owner’s favorite greens, vegetables and also be beautiful to the eye. Two of the four steps were converted into raised beds and the other two were left to serve as footpaths to access the beds. We rediscovered the soil of the beds and cheered it up with some imported topsoil and compost to provide the plants a good and nutritious living.
The bits of lawn above and below the terraces became deep mulched potato beds where the planting is done on the ground surface that was lightly opened up with shovel, and a thick layer of straw was placed over it where the potatoes then grow. The mulch also needs to be added later in the season which can be compared to mounding the potatoes with soil in the conventional method.
First seeds of hardier plants like peas, spinach and lettuce were planted straight away, and part of the space was mulched to protect the soil and left to wait for the warmer spring days when more warmth requiring peppers, tomatoes and alike could be planted outside