Giving Garden Revealed

I wanted to wait until I had completed the entire project to show you my giving garden. Things just look so…brown. All the lush green of the summer is dried up and dormant, but I just couldn’t help myself. I had to let you in on what’s been brewing in my front yard. You deserve to see things in their current state. Like Joy would say, this is real life.

Before I begin, let me quickly bring you up to speed. In August, I serendipitously got connected with the folks at Lettuce Link. In true Stacy fashion, I came home from a Lettuce Link soirée, giddy with enthusiasm and ideas, and vowed to create a food bank giving garden of my own (check out that post here). I eyed the front lawn, the partially shady spot that would be perfect for greens, and the take over began.

I placed cardboard over the lawn and topped it with coffee grounds, chicken bedding and manure from my girls, and some random, left-over garden soil I had out back.

This sheet mulching technique smothered the grass and began building a rich foundation for my garden beds. To see it teeming with worms tickles me beyond words.

As the lawn started to transform, so did my idea. If this garden would be growing food for the community, I wanted to build it with resources from the community. And that’s exactly what I did.

My favorite local coffee shop, Cloud City Coffee, and local roaster, Tony’s, graciously donated the burlap sacks that would be my paths.

The borders for my garden would be created using empty wine bottles, a reusable object that will last for ages in our soggy climate. As my garden has undergone this transformation, it’s been a neighborhood curiosity. If I had a quarter for every time one of my neighbors or passerby asked me, “what’s up with the bottles?” I’d be a lucky lady.

Brandon and Molly humored me by letting me have empty wine bottles from several weekend nights at Delancey. A friend and mother of a former student made several special trips to give me countless empty bottles of wine she and her family collected. When visiting friends, they’d greet me with bags of empty bottles that they had stashed away especially for me. I even came home several nights to find brown paper sacks of bottles left on my porch by mysterious neighborhood donors. Yes, this garden is the result of a lot of neighborly contributions.

Finally, all the bottles have been placed, neck down into the ground, and the beds are ready to be filled with soil and planted with spring seeds – just in time to plant my February peas.

Starting this giving garden has given me an energy that I hadn’t expected and I can only imagine what I’ll feel when I take my first basket of vegetables to the food bank. Planting it in the front yard was one of the best things I could have done. It inspires and excites me every time I walk out my front door and I like to think that maybe it inspires the people who walk past it as well.

16 thoughts on “Giving Garden Revealed

  1. Rebecca Mason

    Ok. I need more info on the pertinence of the wine bottles. I have been dreaming of changing over my ginormous yard of useless grass since before it was in vogue. Please share more info!

    1. stacy Post author

      The wine bottles are great for edging since they take forever to decompose (cedar is great, but will eventually rot), they give you the perfect height for a raised bed, the glass is sturdy, and reused in this way saves the energy it would have taken to break them down via recycling. Plus, I just think they look adorable. So, it’s a win-win. 🙂

  2. radhi

    so excited for you, stacy! and so proud of you! all your hard work in getting those wine bottles in looks amazing!!! and the burlap path is just the cherry on top 🙂 you’re a gardening superstar!

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  6. Stephen

    Great job! You and everyone involved are just wonderful. Don’t forget to keep some of the goods for yourself too 🙂


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