In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, the idea of growing a vegetable garden might seem sort of impossible. But this visual diary of one man’s quest to grow his very own garden of Eden on his small front lawn in the busy port city of Oakland, California, may just give you the inspiration you’ve been looking for. Luke Keegan posted what he calls Operation “F**k the Lawn”, to the photo sharing network Imgur, sharing his story of how he replaced his lifeless lawn with a lush, flourishing veggie garden….
Here’s how it started. Luke made eight raised beds (6′x4′) with reclaimed redwood from a barn.
He filled the beds with free compost given away by the city. Just behind the lady observing the beds (Luke’s girlfriend), you can also see a garden that Luke created previously in the parkway, which used to be paved over with concrete.
Seeds began sprouting quickly, most of which Luke sowed directly.
“Honestly, Three weekends to set everything up,” says Luke. “One for boxes. one for soil, and one for irrigation and planting. After that, she could handle most of the work herself.”
Arugula came first…
Then some spinach…
And before he knew it, Luke had radishes, noting that they grow FAST!
A rainbow of carrots.
Peas…! Luke says he spends as little as 15 minutes a day either watering, harvesting or replanting. “The plants do most of the work for you,” he says.
Soon enough, Luke had so many vegetables, he built a “free veggies” box to help spread the wealth. “This is one of my favorite features of the garden,” says Luke, “All sorts of people take what I offer up. I’ve seen people drive up and get out of there car just to check what’s in the box. It is amazing how many zucchinis my neighbours will eat.”
Luke’s Romano Musica Beans…
Tomatillos; the inside is white and meatier than a tomato, often used in Mexican sauces to add a fresh citrus-like flavor. Also good friend for a earth, nutty flavour!
Some cool cucumbers.
“Most legumes (peas, beans) need something to climb, others like cucumbers, and squash will readily climb if you give them support,” Luke advises. “That is a good way to maximise space.”
Luke’s peppers came next..
Tomatoes ripening up..
Luke also decided to fill cinder blocks with compost to hold the wood chips off the sidewalk but also “to create a honeybee sanctuary with lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil planted in them”.
But of course, he didn’t forget the flowers…!
All different kinds, pretty and wild.
Creating a veggie garden can also be a great way to get to know your neighbours. “I get so much support from the hood it’s amazing,” says Luke. “Almost every other week people introduce themselves to me because of the project.”
A view from the roof:
Luke also wanted to clarify things, in case anyone was worried about his urban veggie garden bringing down his neighbours’ property value (yes, such people do exist).
So here is his neighbour’s house:
Here is Luke’s house before the veggie garden:
And here’s another look at Luke’s house after he planted the veggie garden:
I think we can all agree on which look is better.
And meanwhile in Paris…
One of the most populated cities in Europe, Paris would seem like the unlikeliest of places to be able to set up a garden on your doorstep. But one day in Spring, I noticed a few neighbours from the opposite apartment building placing some plant pots on the pavement…
It’s probably not exactly “allowed”, but no one has complained, and now I get to walk through this little sidewalk paradise everyday…
My neighbours are awesome.
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