Vegetables in the front drive?

silversword(9A)September 22, 2010

I have garden beds 50' long down our driveway. Since it's really the only place to plant vegetables/annuals/edibles... that's where I want them to go.

So I'm thinking something like this:


__ ________ __ _________ __ _________ __ _______


LLL = a wire fence erected just in front of the existing fence for trellis.

__ = berries (espaliered)

_____ = vegi beds (perennial on the street side, annual closer to the house)

----- = narrow row of flowers/onions/edible flowers/cohesive color (marigold/nasturtium/leeks/herbs, etc)

We will still have approx. 25' between the beds and the street for planting something more "pretty" when people drive up and to block the dirt from the street.

Is this something anyone else would do, or is this just my hideously tacky idea (as my DH thinks:)

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sleepy33(5b KS)

Not only is it not tacky, it's a growing trend. Seriously, google 'vegetable garden in front yard' and look at the slew of hits you'll get. Yours sounds well thought out and attractive. Go for it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:45PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I was given a wonderful book, Landscaping with fruits and vegetables, by Fred Hagy. It was published 20 years ago, so some people have been doing this for a long time.

Even in zone 7a, I have evergreen herbs in my front flower bed. You're in 9a -- you can grow prostrate rosemary and not worry that it might not survive the winter. *serious envy*

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Thank you for your replies!!

Yes, I have herbs in my flower beds, and tomatoes, and anything I can squeeze between other plants. No such thing as a formal bed where I'm concerned! But DH likes the formality, so we are at odds.

His snarky comment earlier was that "the beds are so small, what are you going to do, plant one carrot? snicker snicker"

Well. Harumph! I think I will have 2' by 50'... that's PLENTY of room for plants. Maybe not a traditional garden, but...

Missing, I hate to brag but I have five or six rosemary going down the driveway that are completely neglected, don't get water and are prolific. I wish I could send some to you!!

DH says I will have people up the driveway picking food. I say, if they need it bad enough to steal it, they need it worse than I do.

I plan on raised beds on top of the existing soil (which is clay but pretty good as I amended it a few times before).

I'm just pretty tired of the ornamental grasses, sea lavender, etc. plants that are so generic and don't *do* anything. If I'm gardening it better smell nice or be yummy or something I can use somehow! And anyone who needs to be impressed by my plant status shouldn't be coming up my driveway anyways. It's not the Hilton. It's a home :)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 4:06PM
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Remember the line from My Fair Lady - "Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait".

Go for it - Snarky will probably see the beauty, and if he doesn't, poor ol' Snark.

Harumph indeed.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:21PM
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Thank you Rosie... you brought a big ol' smile to my face.

Tawanda! and Harumph indeed!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:47PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I have three different kinds of rosemary in the front bed; one should survive the winter; not sure about the second; the prostrate rosemaries (which I care most about), are unlikely to live through the winter. [I grew up in the Bay Area with huge cushions of rosemary.]

Carrot foliage is quite decorative. (Also edible.) Would make a nice edging. You might try growing shorter carrots, because of your clay soil.

Florence fennel is another lovely plant. No one will recognize it as a vegetable. Excellent in roast vegetable dishes.

When I grew tomatoes last year (before the Late Blight got them), one of the varieties was Grape, which had cute, unusually small foliage. Very decorative, and probably not recognizable by most people. I bought the seeds from Heirloom Acres; I've no idea if any other vendor's Grape is the same or not.

Another tomato which is supposed to have small-scale, attractive foliage is Peruvian Wild (sold under that name by Skyfire Gardens, but aka Wild Peruvian, Wild From Peru, etc.). It's a tiny cherry or perhaps a currant.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:58PM
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If you have the room for them, Artichokes are BIG, silvery plants with great foliage.

Okra, eggplants and peppers can make annual bushes for you. With a bit of frost protection, many peppers will overwinter and be more prolific than ever the next year. Serranos especially.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 11:54AM
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I squeeze in a few artichokes other places, but think I may have to take them out.

I've never grown okra, but I do enjoy it. Thank you for the tips on the peppers. If I plan them out I could have one "semi-perennial" bed.

And Missing, thank you. I'll have to look into plants with more aesthetic foliage for the beauty factor. I didn't think of that.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 12:14PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I think 2' is an excellent width for a raised veggie bed, I have 4' and 5' beds and they are way too hard on my back. I'm going to change them to perennial beds and have new 2' or 3' wide veggie beds built this winter.

Vegetable gardens aren't as attractive as manicured landscaping, but they are certainly more utilitarian and can be pretty with the addition of herbs and flowers. I love the book "Great Garden Companions" because it focuses on making a small ecosystem that will support a population of predators to protect your veggies, she has some great pics of pretty vegetable beds.

Also, since you are in zone 9 you can grow winter crops. I always think my winter veggie garden is especially beautiful, mainly because I grow lots of Russian Red Kale and it is gorgeous.

So pooh-pooh to the naysayers! Grow your veggies and enjoy them!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 2:31PM
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Have you seen the potager forum? It sounds like what you want to do would be considered a potager. It can be formal or informal, but a few formal touches might make DH happy :)

Potagers are a mixture of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. They're very pretty (all the flowers) and can easily be incorporated into the front yard. There are many pictures on the potager forum here at GW or you can just do a search on the Internet.

Great Garden Companions (already mentioned) has some neat designs, including one for the front yard. Jennifer Bartley's Designing the New Kitchen Garden, An American Potager Handbook has some great ideas, too.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:39PM
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I'm in agreement with the other responses - Go for it! I like your plan. Just keep the edibles away from the road and any pollutants that may have settled into the soil there; many plants do take these up into their tissues.

You may already have done a search, but below is a link for a site that may provide you with some ammunition. This gardener/businesswoman lives in a rather upscale community and not only grows edibles in her own front yard, she makes money by helping others to do so! Furthermore, I've seen veggie beds springing up in front yards of some very upscale homes on my way to/from work. So don't yield to naysayers ... they just don't get it (yet).

Here is a link that might be useful: The Front Yard Farmer

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 8:54PM
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Not raspberries. Do that with raspberries, and that's all you'll have in a while.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:32AM
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Thank you for the continuance of ideas!

And no raspberries... check! I am a bit worried about planting berries...

The thing is, it's not a front-yard, so to speak. It's a driveway, with around 25' between the start of the fence and the street. That would be planted in some sort of shrubbery. Once the fence starts I have 50' x 2-3' long going up the side of the driveway.

Also, would you make individual 6' long beds (we have it set up so we could do that easily) or would you make it one long bed?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 3:04PM
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