A timely article. I’ve spent the past two weeks coordinating – and trying to do some of the hard work – of tearing out the non-edible parts of the landscaping in our 4000 square foot lot by the sea and planting to eat. Inspired by Novella Carpenter’s Farm City, I swapped the yucca and curly willow in the front yard for a Mutsu apple and an Aprium, tucking yerba buena, thyme, and oregano between stepping stones of fossil rock scavenged from the beach. Sod beneath the no-longer enjoyed play structure made way for raised beds filled with (local) chicken manure and vegetable planting mix, my mind dancing all the while with fantasies of freshly picked frisee salads and zucchini blossoms stuffed with goat cheese on the grill.

I’ll let you know how it goes; I’ve really only dabbled in growing veggies before. This latest fancy of mine is a big investment in time, energy, and money, so I want to make sure I do this right. I only know enough to realize it’s hard to grow food when you live next to the sea, where summer mornings are doused in fog and the average temperature isn’t even high enough to successfully grow basil. So far I’ve got an assortment of Oregon Spring and SunGold tomatoes, organic starts from the farmer’s market. Zucchini, summer squash, and three types of cucumber, just to see what grows. Spinach, sweet peas, and lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce. If I do this right, I’ll never have to buy a bag of greens at the store again.

Here is the yard before my garden project:

It's a bittersweet transformation; I designed that play structure for Kid Two for his 4th birthday. He's 12 and a budding sailor - time really does fly.

And here is the new garden, before plantings:

Real women haul their own stone!

LA Times’ writer Russ Parsons has more experience than I do; check out his article on planning his seasonal garden: How does your summer vegetable garden grow? | Daily Dish | Los Angeles Times.