Jen Oh

Food Not Lawns

This year, we decided to get rid of our ugly front lawn. This was partly a response to the fact that we hate to mow. For the common homeowner – lawns often waste fuel for power mowers and toxic emissions, fertilizers and pesticides, water consumption and your weekend time!  We may have used a push mower and are pesticide free, but the wasted water and time made me just hate our front yard. So out with the lawn and in with the veggies!

We are following the square foot garden method (which for newbies like us is working awesome!) Essentially, it is a raised bed concept, where you mark off every square foot. This enables you to separate different plants easily and plant more per square foot. I got the book for Christmas and it is very easy to understand, has great pictures, and is very step by step (both with quick guides and in depth explanations).

We put in 4 raised beds. 3 of them are 4′ wide x 8′ long by 6″ tall and 1 of them is 4′ wide x 8′ long by 8″ tall (for root veggies). Though it is much more expensive, we used redwood (we want this to last for years) and used lathe boards as our square foot markers. We are growing carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, snap peas, beans, salad greens, cabbage, kale, bok choi, broccoli, artichokes, pumpkins, watermelon, strawberries, leeks, fennel, tons of herbs and edible flowers!

I will be updating once a week with the progress of our garden. Every evening, I go out to water and it is such a peaceful end to my day. I look at all the veggies growing and think about how yummy they will be! So far, we’ve been able to harvest salad greens, but the bok choi is calling me to harvest some this weekend and there are strawberries developing.

This project has been amazing.It was incredibly slow going because it rained almost all of April – but it has been worth it. There have been so many unexpected benefits. I have learned that my son (4 yrs old) now will eat salad greens because he gets to help cut them. My son also informed his preschool class on how seeds germinate and grow. And the best part – we have met more neighbors in the last month gardening than we had in an entire year! Neighbors have stopped while on walks to talk to us about veggies (learning what plants are what), some just let us know they think what we’re doing is great, others to let us know it’s refreshing to see homeowners actually working on their own yards, and even meeting other gardeners in our neighborhood and trading plants! This project has taken on it’s own life and it is awesome!


  1. Julie Birdwell

    Jen: I can’t wait to hear how your garden is continuing to grow. I have never heard of the square foot method. I am going to research it for next year.

  2. admin (Post author)

    Julie – square foot gardening is awesome! As a newbie, it has made a world of difference. I also think that it makes our raised beds look more polished…especially since they are in the front yard. I need to pull out the bok choi now and having each square defined makes it easier to know what to dig out…

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