Spring Fever

Since the weather has been so nice for the past few days (I'm choosing not to think about the possibility of it getting cold again in the next few days) I've been thinking a lot about planting a veggie garden. Last year we had a small veggie garden in a strange circular planting bed left over from the previous owners. It was okay, we did get a bunch of bush beans and some snap peas, but growing things in a circle is a little difficult. You can't plant in rows, really and the circles diameter was such that you couldn't reach the middle without stepping into the garden itself and potentially on something you are trying to grow. Last years was really just a temporary solution until we could figure out where the "real" garden was going to go. Unfortunately, our yard doesn't get tons of sun, so our options are limited.Above is a picture of our yard taken last August at around noon, when there are the least shadows covering the yard. By one o'clock, that shadow to the right is covering half the lawn between the driveway and the flower bed on the left. Right now I think we've narrowed it down to two options, either in the yard halfway between the circle bed and the picnic table, or in the back of the yard, behind the large evergreen (see the sunny patch back there?) They both seem to get a similar amount of sun, which should be enough for me to grow leafy greens, peas, beans, beets and broccoli, but no tomatoes, eggplant, or squash. The question is which is more practical. Planting in the back makes sense because it's not in the way and it leaves more room near the house for entertaining, however, I'm sorry to admit that I am definitely an "out of sight, out of mind" sort of person. I'm afraid if I don't walk right past it everyday, I'm going to wind up neglecting it. Plus the idea of eating right next to where the food is growing sort of appeals to me.

It would be easier to decide if I had a strong idea of how I want the rest of the yard to be and I could see what will work best with that. I've been playing around with a layout in Cad (yeah, pretty dorky, but I'm an architect and that's how I'm used to working) but I'm not sure that it's the plan I want to go with.
Here's the plan as it currently stands. It's a quick and dirty rendering so I apologize for not having colored every part (please ignore the space behind the garage, that's what I do). The dotted lines are the boundries of the existing planting beds that will be relocated and the edge of the driveway that goes right up to the back of the house. I'd like to build a patio a little bit further out from the house so that there can be some planting between it and the house. I want it to feel like you are in the garden rather than right up against the side of the house or up against the driveway. The brown and green rectangles are the possible veggie garden locations. I have them shown as "starter gardens" that can be expanded if and when I feel that I can handle more responsibility.
So what do you think? Grow the food close to where it will be eaten, or further out of the way so that there's more room for entertaining near the house and patio?


I'm the same way with what I don't see! Over the past couple of years I've come to realize that the "flower" bed next to the porch steps get the most attention, since I walk past there all the time. It is almost entirely devoted to veggies now, with some beneficial flowers thrown in for pretty. I've also become a huge fan of compainion planting and have my little veggie families divided into the different flower beds around the house.

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