As many of you know, my goal is to turn my backyard into a suburban garden but what does that mean exactly? Suburban gardening is using a suburban yard to grow annual and perennial fruits and vegetable plants that match the neighborhood landscaping. The only difference between you and your neighbors yard is you not only get to admire the beauty of your landscape you get to eat it as well!
The idea hatched one day when I was talking to a co-worker about gardening. One day, we were talking about all the different fruits and veggies that one can grow on their own instead of wasting big bucks buying it from who knows where. I told him I would love to have a garden on the scale of my parents but since I have a small suburban yard that would never happen.
That was when he started telling me about a friend that he had that lived in a suburb that grew blueberry plants as shrubs instead of real shrubs. The blueberry plants were not only nice to look at but they provided his friend's family with fresh blueberries each year. Let's just say, the wheels started cranking that day!
After I learned about my co-workers friend, I started thinking about how I could incorporate fruits and veggies into my landscape. I started looking at my property in a whole different way and over the course of the winter and the following spring figured out what I was going to do.
The plan has changed a few times and is not completed yet so it will probably change again but I hope to have it finished by next year. The first year which was last year, I simply made gardens in areas that fit in with the landscape. I planted annual fruits and veggies in these areas and they worked out really well for me.
The second thing I did last year was to plant apple trees along a fence-row next to one of my neighbors yard. One thing I recommend if you do this is to make sure you try to think of the size of a mature apple tree when picking out the spot. You do not want stray apples disturbing your neighbor's yard. Suburban gardening is all about not standing out and this might cause somebody to get upset.
Planting these trees is a perfect example of suburban gardening. The apple trees I planted look the same as the crab apple trees in my neighbor's yard but the fruit on mine tastes much better. I planted two trees last year and plan to plant another two apple trees as well as two pear trees and an almond tree or two over the next year or two.
Another one of my goals this year is to make raised gardens along the fence that I have. I am making eight foot by three foot raised gardens that will line my fence-row on all four sides(eventually) of my yard. I decided to make narrow beds so my family still has room to play.
Instead of taking up big sections of the yard, we will be only losing three feet along the whole perimeter. My family will hardly miss this space plus it was a pain to weedwhip. I am going to line the sides of the beds with gravel eventually so I don't have to weedwhip the fence-line or the beds! Pretty slick eh?
The last piece of the puzzle in my suburban garden is the use of shrubs like blueberries or other plants like raspberries or blackberries as privacy screens. Once side of my yard butts up to the road so I was thinking of putting up evergreen shrubs but why not plant fruit shrubs instead?
Blackberries or elderberry bushes can grow to be six or seven feet tall eventually so they are the perfect thing to plant as a privacy screen. The only drawback is they lose their leaves in the winter but would you rather have that or chew on an evergreen tree? I am not in my yard that much in the winter so I am going with the fruit (plus elderberry wine sounds pretty good!).
If you are interested in suburban gardening, feel free to follow the links in this article to see how I completed the projects I undertook last year as well as subscribe to this blog to follow along with me as I complete my journey. I will be posting more articles describing the steps I am taking to complete my project of a suburban garden.