Our front yard faces south and we have taken out most of the grass. Add 36 yards of topsoil and slave labour from my parents and we were left with a great space to have some of the most interesting plants. I pick specimens based on the food they will produce in both the short-term and the long-term. For things like asparagus, you have to be patient – 3 years until first harvest. It was at least that long before my fig tree gave me one edible fruit.
I have some kind of weird luck with potatoes that re-seed themselves, either by the odd one being left in the ground, but also from actual seeds on a heritage purple potato plant that I have.
I have also suffered from plants gone wild. Dill, fennel and cilantro will quickly get out of control and it is hard to get rid of the over-supply. Mint runs all over the place if you let it. Jumping concrete walking paths is not a problem. But, with mojiitos to make I like to have plenty on hand. Lavender has also taken over a couple of areas. That is not so bad except when it is in bloom the bees are everywhere. My family and friends are afraid to walk through the garden for fear of being stung. So I have had to move the paths around the growth. (I love it that much)
For a string of about 3 years, I had artichokes acting like a perennial. What a treat to pick those big globes and cook up a feast. In those days, the kids were little enough that if we told them a vegetable on their plate came from the garden they would eat it without question. There would be snow on the ground and we would say – “eat up your carrots, they came from Mommy’s garden”. Those days are long gone.
Starting in the late spring, I can usually send the kids out to the garden for a snack. But teaching them to pick fruit has a disadvantage. They are becoming early fruit hogs. Patiently, they casually have their eye on the first ripening strawberry or raspberry. No-one wants to draw attention to the ripening beauties. Then when it is just perfect, they dive in and enjoy the first offering of the garden. And the bragging begins.
A neighbour gave our daughter a nick name today – blueberry. She seemed quite impressed with this, her girlfriend is called peanut. So today the first 2 perfectly ripe strawberries were picked and enjoyed by blueberry and peanut.