Suburban Backyard Garden

We live in the suburbs in a community with a strict set of HOA rules. My husband happens to be the president of our HOA as  well, so I have an extra responsibility to set a good example in taking care of our yard and property. The problem is though, that I would rather live on a hundred acres and have six dogs, three horses, a flock of chickens and a giant garden. For years I have been discontent with our living situation. I moan about living in Georgia, so far from my family in North Carolina. I moan about being prohibited from having backyard chickens. I moan about having a heavily landscaped yard that leaves little room for a garden. This summer I’ve realized how wrong I’ve been in complaining.

We live in a nice house, a really nice house actually, and we have a beautiful yard that is walking distance to the barn where I keep my horse. We live ten minutes from my work, which saves me from fighting Atlanta traffic. We actually have it pretty good. I’m learning that instead of complaining, I should make the most of what we have. This applies especially to my garden.

My veggie garden is in our side yard and only gets partial sun, not enough to really thrive. It will never make us self-sufficient, but it is teaching my kids about where food comes from and how to tend the earth. Instead of complaining about how I wish I had more space, I’ve done a lot of work to make my garden a beautiful, peaceful place for us to enjoy. I built garden boxes this year and planted sunflowers along the retaining wall to add some color. My husband bought me pavers and laid them outside the gate so that we have a little patio area now. I bought an $8 planter at Lowe’s and filled it with colorful plants. My little garden is my favorite part of our yard. We love to spend time there in the evenings when it’s cool and the kids love to help water and collect the veggies. I sit on the pavers and play guitar while the kids play and sometimes we play Go Fish or read a story out there. Because it can be seen from the road, I made sure that it’s a pretty space that adds something to the neighborhood.

One of our neighbors who moved here from Iowa walked over recently to see the garden. She said they lived on land in Iowa and had a huge garden that she really missed. When they moved to the suburbs, she just assumed her gardening days were over. Once she saw that I was able to grow a few things in a little space, she said she would probably start a little garden in her own yard. It really isn’t about being completely self-sufficient or having the biggest and most abundant garden as much as it’s about blooming where you’re planted.