Growing our Own Food on the Front Lawn

“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small-scale, in our own gardens. If only 10 percent of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”Β 

~Bill Mollison, Founder of Permaculture



Growing Urban

Our front lawn. 9 feet by 40 feet. Soon to be a vegetable garden and a Sensory Garden

  • How much produce can 360 square feet yield?
  • Can this feed a family of 5 for an entire 22 week growing season and beyond?
  • Can growing our own save us money or even make money?

A Garden Starts with Seeds (January 28, 2017)

Planning this year’s garden brings a smile to my face. I loved growing food last year but I didn’t really have a plan. Last year was an experiment to see what would grow and where (in the different microclimates around the house) and what we actually used. I now know that we will use a lot of tomatoes, kale, lettuce, spinach, sorrel, carrots, cucumber, borage (both the fuzzy leaves and the beautiful edible flowers), pumpkins, summer and winter squashes and zucchini. Fresh herbs are essential in our kitchen and this year I am trying a growing them using ‘hugelkultur‘, which is growing food on a mound or what I call ‘herb hill’. Basil, oregano, verbena, thyme, marjoram, flat leaf parsley, cilantro, dill and lemon balm are some of my favorites.

Dazzling purple borage flowers and sunflowers in our garden last year. Borage refills with nectar every 2 minutes, no wonder the bees were all over it. Photograph by Jane Grueber Copyright 2016

Although I saved many seeds or shook dry seeds directly back into our already existing garden beds, I ordered some new Heritage seeds for our front yard urban garden project. My goal is to save seeds that grow well in our climate.

List of Heritage Seeds (vegetables & herbs):

  1. Hopi Red Dye Amaranth – this ancient grain grows well in pots and dried seeds can be easily ground into flour
  2. Calabrese Broccoli
  3. Chieftan Savoy Cabbage
  4. Scarlet Nantes Carrots
  5. Beit Alpha Cucumber
  6. Lacinato Kale
  7. Crisp Mint Lettuce
  8. Black Hungarian Peppers
  9. California Wonder Peppers
  10. Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach
  11. Yokohama Squash
  12. Ronde de Nice Squash
  13. Golden Zucchini


Sensory Garden

The benefits of ‘sensory gardens’ are well documented and widely written about. They provide calming sanctuary for those suffering from traumatic brain injury, mental health challenges, developmental difficulties, or neurodegenerative diseases to name a few. For the young and young at heart, they provide a welcoming environment for exploration, learning and communing with nature right in the yard.

I want to make a ‘sensory garden’ in our front yard where we can sit and enjoy the power of nature – to take in the smells, sights and sounds of flowers and birds as well as to provide food for our friendly neighbourhood pollinators. I intentionally chose flowers that support the local ecosystem.

Here are some seeds/flowers slated for our sensory garden:

  1. Nastrurtium
  2. Celosia
  3. Coleus
  4. Saphyr blue flax
  5. Morning Glory
  6. Ladybird Poppy
  7. Pandora Poppy
  8. Kong sunflower
  9. Sweat peas
  10. Gaillardia
  11. Indigo Blue Forget-Me-Not
  12. Foxgloves
  13. Hollyhocks
  14. Chinese Lantern
Mason bee gussying up to some borage. Photograph by Jane Grueber Copyright 2016

This is a list of some of the plants and flowers that bees love and you may want to incorporate into your garden this year:

  • Dhalia
  • Forget-me-Not
  • Honey Suckle
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Snapdragons
  • Giant Hyssop
  • Paint Brush (Castilleja)
  • Wallflower
  • Sunflower
  • Skullcap
  • Mullein
  • Zinnia
  • Bee plant (cleome)
  • Globe thistle
  • Joe-Pye weed
  • Liatris
  • English lavender
  • Bergamont



  • Sage, thyme, mint, oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, verbena