Grow Vegetables Instead of Lawns

Over the past few years I have rediscovered the joy of growing vegetables. It’s rewarding, challenging, and most importantly, replaces areas of my yard that were once grass with bountiful and useful plants. It’s suddenly not as painful to water the lawn knowing that my vegetables are also getting a drink. I am saving money and time by reducing the area of lawn demanding maintenance, while reconnecting to something I’ve always loved: cultivating & eating fresh produce from the yard. Some of my fondest childhood memories are summer evenings spent in the garden. My compost heap is now a source of pride, and sharing extra tomatoes with my friends and coworkers is a lot of fun.

I have slowly enlarged my modest gardening areas each year, and I am always tempted to just plow up all of the grass and plant a huge crop. This impulse is sadly tempered by reality: Americans have a lawn fetish, and I plan to eventually move and sell or rent out this house. I own my house and I can do with it what I want, but completely replacing a majority of the lawn with vegetable gardens is unfortunately not a selling point for most future residents. A small minority of tenants or buyers would see a back yard full of raised beds, awesome soil, and a hot compost heap as amazing assets – the rest will probably be turned off. Maybe my next house will feel more permanent, and I’ll be more daring in my yard customizations and gardening adventures?

Despite my reservations, I still plan to remove more lawn & convert an area of my front yard into a landscaped “flower bed” this spring, maybe I’ll experiment with a bit of front yard vegetable gardening as well? I think I might also stick a few harmless raspberry bushes in the back corner of the yard… maybe I should just take the crazy-gardener plunge and not worry about the consequences?

Do you grow food in place of grass? Have you replaced your lawn without regret? I’d love to hear your gardening stories or see links to your blogs about gardening!

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