How To Build A Sustainable Ornamental Edible Vegetable Garden Design In Your Front Lawn
Sustainable vegetable garden
When I first began the journey of removing the grass from my front lawn and installing 5,000 pounds of rotted buffalo manure in 2009, I had no idea where it would lead. In the first year, I learned a lot of hard lessons and soon realized that a vegetable garden requires more water than all the rest of my garden combined. Building a sustainable vegetable garden became a priority more than ever.
With the help of Aquascape, Inc. I had a rainwater cistern and water fountain installed on the front lawn to help me supply fresh water to the vegetables. This season I began composting kitchen and yard waste heavily, added more composted manure, and mulched the vegetable garden; all things to do for your garden which will help conserve water. Thanks to Organic Mechanics Soil, I was also able to add worm castings in the vegetable garden zones where I did not rotate crops in the hopes the added nutrients will help the plants build positive microbial root activity.
This season I christened the garden with a name; “Jardin de Vegetal” and have worked to make it easier to plant and more ornamental to boost the front lawn attractiveness factor. In the rough hand-drawn design below you can see how I laid out a “sunray” design around the front patio and walkway in my plan.
It was very simple to create. First, I drew out a rough design for the garden (see above plan), then I dug in soil amendments. Next, I strung rope in straight lines to mark out where the plants should go, planted the plants, mulching well. That was easy!
Below is the list of incredible Burpee Home Gardens plants I used to make this vision come true. The numbers coordinate with the numbers on the above plan. The alphabet letters are perennials I laid out in the full-shade section of the front garden since it would not adequately support vegetable plants:
- 30 Gourmet Blend Mixed Lettuces Plants
- 30 Red Rubin Basil Plants
- 16 Cabbage Plants
- 40 Onion Plants – White Sweet Spanish
- 20 Bush Bean Plants and 5 Burpee’s Bush Table Queen Squash Plants
- 5 Burpee Golden Zucchini Plants
- 3 SuperTasty Tomato Plants
- 5 Sweet Burpless Cucumber Plants
- 10 Flavorburst Pepper Plants
- 5 Big Beef Tomato Plants
- 2 SuperTasty Tomato Plants
- 2 SunGold Cherry Tomato Plants
In the top photo, you can see how the garden looks mid-summer. Pretty good – plants are growing strong and I am very happy. To see even more of how the design and planting worked, please watch the below video.
— Burpee Home Gardens supplied the vegetables grown in the garden this season. I write many instructional stories and videos with their incredible vegetable products and donate a large portion of the vegetables to the local food pantry when harvested.
— Corona Clipper supplied the really awesome planting tools I planted with.
— Organic Mechanics Soil supplied the worm castings for the garden areas which were not crop-rotated this season.
— Aquascape, Inc. supplied the rainwater cistern for easier watering of the vegetable garden.
What To Do To Cover A Bald Spot In The Shade Garden
Excellent! Is the manure available locally?
Rotted manure can be had in any big box store – it's usually listed as “manure compost”.
Buffalo manure is available in different regions of the country. Here's the link to the story I wrote on this specific manure – http://thecasualgardener.blogspot.com/2009/05/2009-get-it-garden-challenge.html
View this accompanying youtube video for more info on the Rain Water Harvesting system that Shawna used!
I live in rural North Dakota so I'm at an advantage for manure with numerous local farms. But I imagine if you live near farms with animals many of have rotted manure available to sell and some would love to give it to you. Also love your idea of donating to local food banks.
I really like the way you mulch your garden. Composting is the best way to make your soil attain more nutrients and minerals. Healthy soil can have healthy plants! Your post is an informative one. I enjoy reading it and your video really helped. Thanks!
Yes! I totally agree that manure compost is really the best way to mulch your garden. It is also the effective in growing healthy plants. Your video is great. It really helped beginners to start a new garden.
Great garden goodness! Thanks Crystal!
We have a horse stable nearby, and most of them, from what I hear, are more than thrilled to let you drive up and pack your car full of as much composted horsepoo as you can carry. Sometimes you have to dig a bit for the stuff that's not too “fresh,” but it's a great free source of manure in quantity!
I love your garden, this has been my inspiration this year. It's slow going, though, because of the weather vagaries…how is your lettuce doing? (You're in Chicago, right?) Do you have any solutions for keeping it going once the weather goes up into the nineties for just long enough to completely do it in?
Hi Shawna – how big is the space you have in your plans above?
This is about a 20′ X 20′ space that I use to garden in my front lawn area. 🙂