Evan’s Front-Yard Fall Garden

As anyone who has ever put a shovel in the soil knows, gardening is hard work. I recently attended a Fall Gardening class at the Cleveland County Extension on 601 E. Robinson and the info that they provided motivated me to take advantage of the window of opportunity to get some more gardening in. Everyone knows that the spring time is an ideal time to start a garden, but I had no prior knowledge that it was possible to continue growing beans, kale, spinach, beets, lettuce, and dozens of other varieties after the waning of the summer heat. Many vegetables can endure cold weather and often thrive in it. In my experience, some, like snow peas and sugar snaps, have always done well up until the about the early-mid summer, but then, like a car running out of gas, they stop flowering. This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy them; we just have to wait out the heat and replant.

How did I begin?  I started out by trying to examine the space that was available and then ruminated about how the garden could fit into the context of the existing landscape. The garden is based on a 10′ x 10′ box with the corners shaved off. I knew I wanted to add two pathways that criss-crossed the garden to make 4 equally sized quadrants. This would allow for my nieces to play and also make it easier to tend the garden from all sides. It required a fair amount of calculations to determine the correct positioning, however having discussed it with my dad, and having concluded that it was in the appropriate place, I began the process of digging it out.


Why do a fall garden?  There are many reasons: the most obvious is to grow more food, however energy conservation and the act of making a statement about the un-sustainability of the suburban lifestyle, which is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, is also part of the my reasoning. Oil is an amazing resource. It’s versatile, energy-dense, easily transportable, and like gold, holds its value. However, we are all aware that its combustion results in the emission of carbon dioxide and other particulates. The idea behind front yard gardens is to increase the capacity that we have to produce more food and use less fuel. Some research has suggested that, in the industrial system of food production, as much as 10 calories of fossil fuels are devoted to the production of a single calorie of food. That figure is calculated based on the fossil fuels used to run the tractors, the fertilizers (most of which come from the refinement of natural gas), the harvesting, the refrigeration, the transportation, and finally the food preparation. This is an incredibly energy intensive operation and it makes one question:  how sustainable it is? In my opinion, it

The author: Evan Dunn

isn’t sustainable. Although I don’t think we can all feed ourselves with two small gardens in our front and back yards, we can all work towards maximizing the amount of food we can produce with what little space we do have, and still have a beautiful outdoor space that we enjoy. I’ll try and continue updating everyone about the progress of the project throughout the fall. If you have any questions, comments, or points of discord, please feel free to express yourself. You can also email me directly at evad223@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading,





  1. MaryFrancis

    Nice post, Ev. I’m so glad you are doing a garden. I had one before I moved to a condo. Now I have wildflower gardens, but no vegetable gardening is allowed. I have planted herbs, however.
    So what are you planting? And is anything in the ground yet?

  2. NSN

    Thanks Mary, I’m doing what I can. I think you’ve got the right idea though, if you’re not going to grow some food, you might as well obviate the tedium of yard/garden maintenance by downsizing. 🙂

  3. NSN

    Oh sorry, I could only see part of your message. I’m replying from the coding part of the website. It’s good to know you’re doing what you can, those darned Condo-owner associations are pretty strict aren’t they. I’m planning on planting some plants that are cold hearty like bush beans, beets, broccoli, spinach, kale and leaf lettuce. It’s amazing how much you can keep growing. I was shocked to read to the OSU fact sheet. I think the fact sheet mentions cilantro as being a pretty good fall herb…What herbs are you growing?

  4. NSN

    Geez, I still haven’t answered your questions fully: no, nothing is in the ground yet 🙂

  5. MaryFrancis

    Basil & chives, But I did put 3 tomato plants at a friends house. Wildflowers are: Verbascum blatteria, aesclepias tuberosa, ipomopsis rubra, rudbeckia, gaillardia, eustoma grandiflora, wild phlox, datura, a wild pink called ‘grass pink’ and the common poppy mallow. I also have seeds, if you want some.
    Great meeting tonight with excellent info. Thanks sooooo much!

  6. Catherine Hobbs

    Good writing, and great ideas, so this is a winner!

  7. NSN

    Haha, ‘good writing’? Seriously? Thanks Catherine 🙂 btw: sorry it took so long to reply, I’m trying to get better at checking the comments on this page, ugh. 🙂

  8. NSN

    Ooh, I do want some seeds! I’m working on the new blog about the update for the Fall Garden and maybe I could do some replanting with the seeds you have. You probably don’t want any of mine since you’re limited in growing area, but if you want to go to the Seed Exchange at the Norman Public Library let me know. I think it’s….Sept. 18th 🙂 should be fun.

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