The Yarden

The Ishkabibble Yarden

I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time planning, researching, advocating, documenting, and otherwise defending my front yard urban garden. Moments I could have better spent with my infant son, Kae. He arrived on February 4th, 2012, and at seven pounds even, weighed as much as my heart. Within a month of his arrival, I had decided to turn a large portion of my front yard into an edible landscape. Though it has been a battle ever since, I have no regrets. He was my inspiration to begin with, and it has been my sole motivation to protect his health and freedoms. This has become a cause, not an endeavor. I broke ground when he was 35 days old.

A lawn, though seemingly lacking, has quite an ecosystem lurking just below the surface. Insects and worms that aerate, living in harmony with beneficial microbes among the roots of the ever browning zoysia grass. Rather than removing the lawn, I amended it into the earth. I could only go about 4″ deep the first time I cultivated the 25′x35′ area. I worked under the topsoil three full times before the sod had broken up and spread evenly. I then added roughly 15 lawn and garden bags of various tree leaves I collected. Last fall’s foliage was evenly dispersed and tilled into the ever improving “dirt”. Composted goat and horse bedding finally killed the 10 years young tiller. In all, every inch of the now redefined “soil” had been overturned roughly 8 times.

In hopes of making my garden an art form and not an eyesore, I installed a mulch border around the entire perimeter of the soon to be yarden. This was held in place by heavy duty lawn edging, meticulously   wrapped around the outer edge. I sowed the seed of each edible and medicinal plant within. I positioned a flower and ornamental amaranth row along the sidewalk. I placed lush herbs to the east, squash and melons to the west. In between, rows of bush beans, various peppers, and more than a dozen tomato varieties. Hundreds of non- GMO, heirloom seeds. Towards the house, two small corn patches, infused with vining beans, and several grains including chia, flax, camelina, sesame seed, oats, and another amaranth. More than fifty different species and varieties, all sown strategically to benefit both themselves, and the outlook of the neighborhood.

I’ve since laid landscaping cloth and wood mulch around many of the plants, and along the walk paths between. Weeding has been minimal, and watering has been greatly reduced by mulching. I’m pulling my first meals from previously unused space. Several pounds of green beans, a couple peppers, and various herbs have graced my dinner table so far, along with salads of amaranth and other greens. As dozens of quarter size tomatoes began to swell in the summer heat, I built a double trellis to support their ever increasing weight. Nearly everything is in bloom, and the beauty of the space intensifies more and more with each passing day.

I hope it continues. It’s all so Ishkabibble.

10 Responses to The Yarden

  1. Marianne says:

    I live in Oakville, MO and am doing very similar to what you are. I think it’s wonderful. I am the talk of the neighborhood since I have very little grass in the front or the back. Everybody else’s front and backyards are “landscaped” and here is hillbilly momma right in the middle. I have a facebook page called the Blooming Idiot if you would like to see.

  2. Penny says:

    I am so inspired by your yarden journey. I encourage you to keep up the good fight for Kae . What a noble battle!

  3. eafinct says:

    I hope you all investigate permaculture and forest gardens, which look so much like flower gardens that your neighbors will be snapping photos!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Congratulations on all of your sprouts. You have taken great care and will reap great rewards!

  5. […] Freedom Center was representing Karl Tricamo, a resident who, inspired by the birth of his infant son, decided to ensure his family’s access to cheap, nutritious, organic produce by planting a […]

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think you are fantastic! Keep it up and I hope you are well soon.

  7. Heather says:

    I just found your blog via facebook… congrats on your win! Unbelievable that a city would try to keep a family from growing FOOD in favor of grass. I’m very impressed by how much food you’ve been able to grow in such a relatively small area! I hope you continue your blog as a platform to encourage other urban farmers and teach people how to be as successful as you’ve been at self-sustenance.

  8. Eileen says:

    I’m amazed. You must live in a city with no crime or poverty that the city council and local police have nothing better to worry themselves over than a lovely FRONT YARD garden! I must research and buy a home there immediately if that is the case. (I suspect it is not, sadly. Shame on them all for fighting a completely worthless battle and putting your entire family thru the wringer for the desire for fresh veggies from your own plot of land. What has happened to this country?)

  9. Anonymous says:

    So glad that you and Mr. Roland were able to tell the city of Ferguson about the Constitution of our country. I had a similar experience last year when, asking about a close community’s ordinances about chickens (urban chickens are allowed in Columbia), the city official replied that, “No, you can’t have chickens here [in Moberly]. It’s not in any laws, but you can’t have them here.” I wanted to ask him a few pointed questions such as, really, and when did you decide that it was within your authority to make up the laws? Keep up the garden!!

  10. Beth Stormageddon Sparks-Jacques says:

    I am thinking of doing something similar, but with containers since our soil is so poor. I don’t think we will have problem since we are unincorporated, hurrah for no local government!

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