Slow News Day: Front Yard Gardening in Benicia and Beyond

cornyard1

While wandering around the town of Benicia, CA, one late summer day, I encountered this exuberant example of front yard gardening. This person is really making the most of every square inch. It was a treat to see, especially after posting about the trend of front yard gardening earlier this summer.

I’ve been following some fun and inspiring blogs about front yard and even balcony gardening. (As a longtime deck gardener, in the deer-populated (read: lettuce munching) woods as well as in Manhattan, I’ve always been interested in doing the most with the smallest plot of dirt. Good small-space gardening and urban homesteading blogs include Beyond the Lawn, Leda’s Urban Homestead, Balcony Gardener, Life on the Balcony, Free Range Living, and Path to Freedom.

The last is an especially exciting farmsteading site that I just learned about this weekend when I saw an independent movie called HomeGrown. HomeGrown features a family of four living by the freeway in Pasadena, CA, raising all their own food and completely sustaining themselves and others on a small residential plot of land. The family is very winning and passionate, and they really make a go of urban homesteading, practicing extreme simplicity, conservation, community and resourcefulness — They use a hand washer, make their own biofuel, sell their produce to some of the area’s high-end (and appreciative) restaurants, and often do without. Learn more about them at Path to Freedom.

Still curious about Benicia? In addition to having great sun and soil, I learned that the bayside town was California’s first capitol, predating Sacramento and California’s gold rush. After going inside the old building (now part of a CA state park)  and pretending to legislate, we got to lock the old capitol’s giant door for the weekend with an outsized, cartoon-like key. Benicia also has a charming main street for shopping, antiquing, and taking a self-guided historic walking tour featuring old homes and businesses. I will post a travelogue soon.

In the meantime, like me, you can enjoy looking at this special, bountiful yard and wondering if its owners are still harvesting yummy corn into the fall.

cornyard2

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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6 responses to “Slow News Day: Front Yard Gardening in Benicia and Beyond

  1. I love seeing people’s photos and writings about my lil’ hometown, Benicia! Glad you visited; come again soon!

    Deborah

  2. Hi Deborah! I really enjoyed my visit to Benicia and will definitely come again! It’s a lovely spot on the bay. My husband and I took the self-guided historic walking tour, which was fantastic. I had no idea the town had such a rich history. I’ll let you know when I post the pictures from our tour. Are you a Benicia native?

    In the meantime, I’m really enjoying your blog, http://www.debztalkin.blogspot.com/, and reading about your wonderful work for the Warm Up America Foundation. I hope to see you again soon.

  3. From the Mailbag: This came from Mary Brooks Maddox on Facebook:

    “I just checked out your blog. Nice! My family also keeps a blog/website about our Urban homesteading or as we like to call it yardsteading in the south east at http://www.yardstead.com. It’s really nice to read the blog you have about the same ideas on the west coast.”

  4. Thank you, Mary! It’s also great to know about yardstead.com. I found it full of inspiration and practical advice. (I especially liked your baby chix pix!) I have just added it to Slow Family’s blogroll and will check back often.

  5. очень интересно, спасибо

  6. Не за что. You’re welcome! Thank you for writing. Glad you found this interesting.

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