Check out my new book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, available from Amazon.

2012 Silver winner in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition Category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flat out

I'm feeling under the weather, hence the dearth of posts. I hope to be back in the saddle here soon...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Preparing your body for pregnancy

A reader sent me an email the other day asking for some help on preparing her body for pregnancy. She's planning on getting pregnant in 5 - 6 months and wanted to know which toxins to avoid and what to get rid of so she's not harboring dangerous toxins that could potentially affect her baby.

I cooked up a quickie list of things that I would do if I could do it all over again and I thought I'd share them with you.

Top 10 Toxin-Free Tips for Getting for Your Body Ready for Baby

1. Don't eat anything remotely containing mercury or arsenic, which means pretty much all fish.
2. Eat as much organic as possible (especially meat and dairy), and strictly avoid the pesticide-laden "Dirty Dozen" and avoid anything with artificial colorings
3. Drink filtered water and install a shower filter to reduce inhaled chlorine exposure
4. Avoid any cosmetics of questionable origin, particularly any nail polishes, even if they don't contain DBP, tuolene and the other well known nasty ingredients - there are still plastics and solvents
5. Avoid any body care product that contains parabens or fragrance or parfum
6. Get rid of anything containing a non-stick coating or PVC in the house, that includes wrinkle-free, stain resistant and water repellent clothes
7. Try to get only organic baby clothes and bedding. I know it's expensive but recent studies showed there are a ton of formaldehydes in the products that don't wash out and that's not even including the required flame retardants in children's sleepwear.
8. If you're planning on painting the baby's room or otherwise remodeling, choose non-toxic paint, flooring, non-vinyl shades, etc. for you and the baby
9. Choose baby furniture made with real wood and not off-gassing pressboard materials
10. Finally, once the baby is here, be vigilant about the baby care products you use - even the "clean and natural" stuff can contain nasty ingredients. Also avoid soft plastic toys - they all invariably contain PVC

A few extra notes - if you are planning on losing weight or doing some sort of food detox program now, just know that these actions will mobilize toxins out of your body tissues (mostly fat) and circulate them where they'll hang around for a while before being excreted or reabsorbed. So, if you do either, give your body enough time to process the extra toxin load in your blood before bombarding a baby with it.

And, yes, that is me, pregnant with Emma back in 2003.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crazy environmental dreams

If you didn't have a spouse, significant other, roommates, kids and/or nosy parents to impede your crazy environmental dreams, what would you do?

What would you do?


If they aren't listed here, add 'em to the comments!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Growing potatoes in containers

This is a cross post from my blog over on Mother Earth News.

I've been growing potatoes in bins in our backyard for five years now. I started off using large, plastic storage containers that I drilled holes in for drainage and filled with a few inches of compost. As the potato plants grew, I "hilled" them with more soil.

Unfortunately, I have been less than attentive over the years and generally left the potato plants to get a little too tall before hilling them, which just meant that I probably wasn't getting the optimum yield. Last year, I didn't even really bother with getting potato "seeds" from the nursery and just let what was leftover in the bins grow. Needless to say, we hardly got anything from that experiment.

One thing I did notice, however, due to the paltry amount of potatoes, was that the bin got really soggy. The drainage holes I made just weren't doing their job and the potatoes that did grow were squishy and waterlogged.

Using grow bags
Instead of growing the potatoes in the containers again this year (one completely had degraded due to years of weather and sunlight), I decided to try growing potatoes in grow bags. The bags I ended up getting are felt-like and have a porous fabric that allows excess water to drain and the roots to breathe. Quite a difference from their last environment.

Hilling with straw and soil
One additional thing I'm doing differently this year is hilling the potatoes with layers of straw and soil. In previous years I hilled with just soil and it was always a pain digging through all that dirt to get to the goods. Over the years I had read that you can use straw. I didn't fully believe that just straw would work so I decided to use a combination layering technique of straw and soil.

So far, the potatoes are growing like crazy, but they grew like crazy in the old bins as well. I won't know if there's going to be any improvement until I harvest them, but I'm keeping my hopes up.

Do you grow potatoes? If so, do you grow them in bins?

Backyard Bounty book giveaway

I got a review copy of the book, Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, from my publisher and I have to say, I've been loving it. Even though I've read a ton of books on gardening and gardening in the Pacific Northwest, in particular, I'm still learning a great deal.

The author, Linda Gilkeson, a master gardener, lives in the BC area and the content is certainly catered towards those living in the Pacific Northwest. But I have to say that the vast majority of the book would apply not only to those who live in similar climates but to all gardeners as well.

The book includes:

* Planning your garden and preparing the soil
* Organic fertilizers and simplified composting
* Growing healthy seedlings, transplanting, easy weeding and mulching
* Growing fruit and simple pruning methods
* Greenhouses, tunnels, and containers
* Organic pest management and more

Book giveaway
If you are interested in entering the random drawing for a copy of this book, leave your name in the comments of this post and tell me if you are a new, seasoned or expert gardener!

Bonus entry
If you are a "fan" of my Facebook page, you can get a second entry, just add an extra comment saying you LIKE me, you really LIKE me!

The rules
You have until midnight PST Saturday, May 28th to enter. Good luck and happy gardening!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Crunchy Chicken Facebook Page

As many of you know, I've been on Facebook a long time and many of you readers are "friends". But, I finally got around to making an "official" Facebook Page for this blog where I will be posting all things related to the blog, environmental links, other musings, far too many rants and the like.

Oftentimes, I run across news articles or ideas that I don't feel like writing a complete blog about and, instead, post it on Facebook including my opinion and asking for yours. And, generally, we get a good conversation going on over there.

So, if you want to make sure you don't miss out on the conversation and info I'm posting on Facebook, come on over and LIKE my page! For those of you not on Facebook, you can still see what I'm up to in the plug-in to the right.

Beekeeping 101 - Part 1

The following is a guest post from Kate Ferry who writes the blog, The Sacred Bee's Blog. Since early 2010, she and her family began focusing on eating organic, supporting local businesses, removing toxic chemicals from their home and bodies and reducing their waste. She has been chronicling her adventures on her blog. This post is Part 1 of 2.

Beekeeping has been a part of my life for almost eight years and is one of my greatest passions. I particularly enjoy talking about bees, helping others get started with the hobby and spreading awareness about the importance of honeybees. This post will introduce you to beginner beekeeping and how to help the honeybee even if you don’t want to keep them.

I first became interested in honeybees while studying anthropology in college. The social structure of the honeybee is unlike any other living organism and the level of organization, community and work ethic is second to none. Inside the hive, they are truly remarkable creatures. Outside the hive, they are both critically beneficial and incredibly fascinating to study.

After graduating from college, I enrolled in a six-week course at a honeybee learning center just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was an intense learning environment and it only fueled my interest and determination to bring honeybees into my life.

That next spring I jumped in headfirst and haven’t turned my back on them since. For the past eight years, I have enjoyed keeping bees at my family’s homestead in northwest Washington. And, through trials and tribulations have managed to keep the honeybee a sacred part of my life and that of my family.

If you can answer yes to the following questions – any or all of them – then beekeeping might just “bee” the thing for you. And, if you aren’t interested in keeping bees, fast forward about halfway through this post because there is info for you, too.
  • Are you fascinated by the honeybee?
  • Do you have access to a bit of land? Anything over about 20 feet by 20 feet will do just fine.
  • Are you interested in reaping the benefits of a well-pollinated, seasonally rounded garden?
  • Do you have a spare hour every two weeks or so?
  • Do you have a sweet tooth for honey?
  • Can you check off the “no” box on the doctor’s information form that asks “Are you allergic to bees”?
Now on to the details and where to begin...

1. Read up on honeybees. Get familiar with the terms and the level of time involved. Start to understand the basics and what you will be tackling when you make the commitment.

My absolute favorite book on beekeeping goes by a somewhat embarrassing moniker, but it’s loaded with quality information that is presented in an easy-to-follow format – whether you are a complete novice or well-practiced beekeeper.
The second and third books worth taking a peek at are:
  • Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture by Ross Conrad & Gary Nabhan; and

  • The Backyard Beekeeper – Revised and Updated: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum.
2. Find your local beekeeper’s association and check it out. And, if you are lucky enough to find one or get to a meeting and meet one – try, try, try to hook up with a mentor that you can observe in the field and go to with question after concern after inquiry.

3. Get your ducks, er bees, in a row. Find that plot of land to keep your hives. Order your gear through a local supplier or a number of online retailers including Mann Lake and Glory Bee. Start-up cost for one single hive and all brand-new gear is going to be about $200 to $300. Be on the lookout for used beekeeping gear (hat, suit, smoker, etc...) but, be wary of used equipment (hive boxes, frames, tools). Hive parts can harbor diseases and parasites that may have infected the previous colony and transfer over to your new, healthy bees.

4. Scout out sources for acquiring your bees. A box of bees is going to run you about $80 and a nucleus colony is around $100.
  • Order them online through a retailer of choice
  • Get in with your local beekeeper’s association and join in on their group order
  • For the brave at heart – capture a swarm (a.k.a. FREE BEES!!)
5. Enroll in a formal course. Check out your nearest university and ask to speak with their agriculture department. Most state universities offer extension courses at the very least, but a number of them have an apiculturist on staff, too!

6. Try to engage children in the hobby. Getting kids involved with beekeeping is a wonderful way to instill an appreciation for the cyclical nature of our world and it is an amazing learning experience.

I have a two-year old who joins me for hive inspections and keeps a safe distance but constantly peppers me with questions as I go about my business. Family friends who homeschool have used an excursion to the bee field as part of their lesson plans. If being surrounded my thousands of flying insects is too spooky, there is always the honey extraction.

Kids (and adults!) love seeing frames dripping wet with fresh honey as the wax coatings are cut with a hot knife, watching the extractor spin and filling up their first jar of the golden nectar. Children can be involved with beekeeping at any age to any level they want depending on safety concerns and their interest.

Part 2 of this article pertains to those interested in welcoming honeybees into the garden and providing a safe haven for an endangered insect. It will be posted next week.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Backyard mini-orchard

This weekend, in addition to harvesting a ton of greens and herbs, I planted some fruit trees and hardened off some plants. I'm doing a long slow hardening off of my tomato plants and need to acquire some more for the bed I built. I also started hardening off the pumpkin plants I started inside a few weeks ago. I think I went a little crazy with the pumpkins because I have something like 24 pumpkins plants going.

As for planting, I planted 6 fruit trees. This is from the batch that I ordered a month or so ago. Two of them didn't come because the nursery deemed they "didn't look good" enough. But, in the end I planted:

1 cherry
1 plum
1 peach
1 nectarine
2 pears

That brings all my fruit trees/bushes/plants to the following:

2 dwarf cherries
2 columnar apples
2 dwarf pears
1 dwarf nectarine
1 dwarf peach
1 dwarf plum
1 Peter's Honey Fig

Plus:
2 blueberries
4 blackberries
30 strawberries
3 grape vines

I also planted some flowers in the front yard. My sunflowers are popping up through the ground and, hopefully, won't get trampled much more by the kids.

Do you have any fruit trees in your yard? What's your favorite?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Salad days and then some

We are well into eating salad every day and I thought I'd share some pictures from around our urban farm that I took this week.

Our first hoop house is going gangbusters. It's growing spinach, two types of lettuce, carrots, broccoli and sugar snap peas:


Our garlic is getting huge. I wish this picture really showed not only how tall they are but how much girth they've got going on:


Our annual herbs are growing nicely. In this shot there's Italian flat leaf parsley, cilantro, dill and oregano (in the background):


Our cherry tree is pretty much done with its blossoms and we have a nice crop of tiny fruit coming along:


The columnar apples are still blossoming:


My potato experiment is going wild. I've already hilled it a couple times. These potatoes (I have two going) are being raised in grow bags and hilled with a mix of soil and straw:


Finally, our strawberry bed is in bloom:



How are things growing in your yard?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can famine be solved by food scraps?

I was listening to our local NPR station this morning and the guest (Norman Myers) on the show, Population Growth and Environment, made the comment that the famine problem in Africa could be solved by reducing the food wasted in Western countries.

The gist of the comment was that the waste from food manufacturing all the way to our own food waste (food thrown out) could be packaged up and sent to Africa and solve their problems there. He didn't elaborate much more and the host didn't press him on it, but that rang some huge bells in my head.

What do you think based on this statement? Do you think famine could be solved if we just weren't as wasteful with our food?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Midget eggs and other things

This last week has been a hodgepodge of odd things around the house. Yesterday, Roxy, our Plymouth Barred Rock chicken laid an itty bitty egg. It was as if a robin had snuck into the coop and laid a tiny brown egg. I would have taken a picture of it, but Emma (in her excitement) broke it on the way in the house.

Saturday, I planted some seed projects Emma did at school a month or so ago. I'd been keeping the plants under grow lights in the basement and finally planted them outside. Because of spring break, I ended up adopting several student's projects (they left them there over break) and so I had three couplings to plant.

They are really a mystery because:

1. first graders don't exactly report accurately and
2. their teacher didn't remember what they were planting (it was a parent who led the project)

They look to be a combo of sweet peas, corn and beans. Not sure if they are pole or bush, but I guess I'll find out soon enough. I suspect they are pole since I bet they had some sort of three sisters thing going on. Minus the squash.

Otherwise, the weather here has been supremely crappy. I put my tomato plants out on Friday for a few hours to start a long, slow hardening off, only to find them completely sagging over and flaccid. Even after bringing them back inside they hadn't perked up much so I staked them up and put them back under the grow lights. I'll try again in a few more weeks.

Saturday night, we had our second neighborhood get-together that we hosted at our house. About five families showed up so it was a small affair, but nice because we got to talk with those neighbors a lot more than if it was a larger crowd. Next month we are having a homemade pizza party and July will be a root beer float party with homemade ice cream. I'm hoping to also interject some other meet-ups depending on people's interests.

My brother-in-law arrived to stay with us for a few months while he works locally doing some contract work. It's nice sharing the house with family - we have all this extra space and I'm glad we can help out as much as we can. Plus, we all love having him here.

That about wraps it up around here!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Twitter Party

I'm going to be participating in tonight's Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Twitter Party.

With the Safe Chemicals Act just introduced in Congress, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families thought it would be a good time to host a Twitter party on the topic of toxic chemicals. What’s a Twitter party, you ask? It’s basically a fast-paced, lively chat forum for educating and sharing ideas – all in 140 characters or less.

At their Twitter party they will be bringing expert panelists together to answer your questions about toxic chemicals, show you how to protect your family and let you know why passage of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 is so critically important.

Here are the details – we hope you can join us!

Date: Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Time: 9-10 PM Eastern/6-7 PM Pacific

Topic: Protecting Our Families from Toxic Chemicals

Key Questions Covered:

* Why should we be concerned about chemicals in products we use every day?
* What are the worst chemicals to avoid in products?
* What can we do to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals?
* How will the Safe Chemicals Act protect us?

How to join the party:

1. Follow @SaferChemicals and our expert panelists on Twitter.
2. Use the hashtag #saferchemicals on all of your tweets.

For a full list of the folks on the expert panel as well as more info on how to participate, check out this blog post.

Oh, and my book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What you don't know can hurt you is available for pre-sale at Amazon! Please note that it's not due to come out until November.

Top 5 favorite foods to grow

Since I've been busy getting some vegetable starts in the ground for this summer's bounty, I wanted to list the top 5 things I like to grow, why I grow them and add some of the potential problems with them.

1. Garlic - They are super easy, virtually pest resistant, store well and the resulting enjoyment is high. I just need to remember to put them in the ground before Halloween or all bets are off.

2. Pumpkins - Another easy one that produces far more in the end compared to the effort I put in. This year we're growing a ton of Cinderella pumpkins that we'll process and freeze. The only possible issue is if we leave them out too long and they are subjected to frost and turn into squishy monsters.

3. Lettuce - We eat a lot of it and, if we can keep the slugs and other critters away, it grows well. The heat of summer can cause them to bolt, so they are more of a spring and fall sort of crop unless I get a slo bolt kind.

4. Italian flat leaf parsley - This grows exceedingly well in our area, much more so than any other annual herb. There are no downfalls to this plant except for, maybe, forgetting to plant the damn thing. It can go to seed quickly, but that just means I need to do some succession planting.

5. Strawberries - Even though we don't exactly have the space set up for a huge crop, eating fresh strawberries straight out of the backyard just can't be beat, no matter what.

What are your favorite top 5 foods to grow?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microplastics in the ocean

I crashed a brown bag seminar at work, a talk from a UW - Tacoma professor about her research on Puget Sound water samples and how much plastic is in it. Her research was going to help extrapolate how much plastic there is in the world's oceans. I'm not going to go into great detail of the results of the research done here but, no surprise, she found plastic in all her samples.

What did surprise me, however, was a few of the things she stated. The first was that she didn't believe there was a giant plastic patch in the Pacific. Her thinking was that, since it's hard to specify where the patch is and its size given its mobility due to currents and a whole host of other variables, it didn't exist. This would have made Beth Terry chafe.

The second statement she made was that there was no evidence that plastics, given their stability, were dangerous as far as leaching chemicals goes. She even jokingly offered up the idea that perhaps eating microbeads would be a good dieting method because it gave the feeling of satiety. She said that seabirds and fish could eat it and it would pass through their systems (if not too large, which is a problem) but it otherwise wouldn't affect them negatively from a chemical standpoint. This chapped my hide because there clearly is a lot of research showing that plastics leach all sorts of chemicals. BPA is an obvious example.

The last comment really burned my britches. When she asked us what we could do to prevent plastic in the oceans, the room was silent for a moment so I offered up the most obvious conclusion: "use less plastic". Her response was that they weren't about to take on the plastic industry. The answer, of course, is properly disposing of plastics but many people in the audience kept trying to bring up alternatives to plastics. The speaker stated that it's a "personal choice" but didn't have any suggestions or knowledge on how to avoid plastics.

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this seminar, but I guess it was that the speaker would have a broader view of plastics, its affects and would be an activist for less plastics all-around. Instead, she focused directly on her more immediate research and less on the problem as a whole.

I'm not trying to criticize, it just occurred to me that, even scientists who spend their whole careers specializing in studying plastics in the ocean maybe aren't looking at the other issues involved.

What do you think? Do you think the problem of plastics in the ocean is just a disposal issue or are there other endemic problems with plastics?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Backyard beekeeping

Along with turning our front yard into a giant edible wonderland, we are thinking of getting backyard bees. We have a couple of options: we can host a hive through one of several organizations in the area (Ballard Bee Company or Urban Bee Company) or we can set up our own shop.

Last year I took a class on beekeeping from Seattle Tilth and learned, more or less, the basics. I also received a review copy of Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More, which I've been dutifully studying.

Unfortunately, all the books and training I've had has been on Langstroth hives. Both companies that do the hosting stuff also use Langstroth hives. But, I've been immensely fascinated by top bar hives which seem easier and more natural in many respects.

The benefits of hosting a hive are that I don't have to do anything besides provide the space. At the end of the deal, we get 10% of the honey. We'll most definitely be going this route for a number of reasons (laziness and fear top the list), but I still am drawn to the top bar hives.

Do any of you keep bees and, if so, what kind of hives do you have?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sod buster saves the day!

Last fall, when I was doing a giveaway for a laundry drying rack, the company sponsoring the giveaway asked if I was interested in trying out one of their other products from their company, Easy Digging. I really liked the looks of one of their hoes - the Grub Hoe - since I had plans of digging up a lot of sod for making new beds in the spring, and put in my request.

I received the grub hoe and put it in the garage for the winter to rest, since I wasn't about to bust any sod anytime soon. Well, here it is spring now and I wanted to try it out. While I was removing two very tall arborvitae, I managed to snap my shovel in half. Yes, in half. Because I'm OCD, I couldn't let that tree wait half hanging out, so I assembled my grub hoe and went to work slicing and dicing my way through the rest of the root system.

That still left the other tree and, after a short break, I decided to see if the grub hoe would do the job digging it up as well. While it's certainly not meant for this kind of work, it was quite effective at it.

Next up on my massive list of gardening opportunities was digging a trench between my yard and my neighbor's to lay down a weed barrier. Their lawn grows into my raised bed (don't ask - it's a strange arrangement on a slope) that drives me batshit crazy every year. With the trees out of the way, I had more space to do the job and the grub hoe made quick work of digging a 30 foot trench half a foot deep to lay down my barrier. Problem solved.

But, the pièce de résistance was when I went to double dig a new 4' x 4' raised bed in the lawn in my backyard. Last time I did this I used the shovel (the one I just snapped) and it was a long, back-breaking event. I started out with a shovel I had purchased in the interim but quickly switched over to my new best friend.

That grub hoe sliced through the sod like butter. With a little swing and a swivel, the sod popped out like nobody's business and I was able to get that sucker double dug in no time flat. And, I was actually having fun. WTF?

I've got another bed to dig up this weekend and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to sod busting. Call me crazy (well, you already do) but I'm in love with my grub hoe.

Note: I am in no way being compensated for this review aside from the sample grub hoe I received back in the fall.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The not so zen yoga mat

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What you don't know can hurt you, due out Fall 2011 from New Society Publishers. The book follows my attempts to rid everything potentially toxic from my life.

I have, for almost twenty years, been extremely inflexible. I don't know exactly when it began but it was sometime around the time I started running in my early twenties. With the increase in muscle came a decrease in flexibility in spite of all the stretching I felt like I was doing. I've known people who rarely stretch, but yet who are much more flexible than I am and I've never quite been able to figure out why.

My inflexibility causes me a lot of problems, most notably with my knees when I am running (which I don't really do anymore because of some foot issues) and most painfully with my back. My tight calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and a number of other lower body muscles and tendons all end up pulling on my back, causing me a lot of issues with back spasms and strains. If I stay on top of stretching and make sure I do it every day, then I can keep most of my back pain at bay. Even if I skip a day, I'm setting myself up for pain later.

The recent increase in exercise meant I really needed to stretch twice a day and by that I mean a combination of classic running stretches as well as yoga. The problem with yoga is that most yoga mats are made out of or are backed with PVC. We had three yoga mats in the house because the kids were big into imitating my yoga practice for a while. The mats didn’t get a tremendous amount of use, but they were still present, off-gassing dangerous chemicals (like phthalates, lead and cadmium) into our rooms.

If I stretched in the living room, there was enough padding under the rug that I didn't need a mat. However, if I wanted to do anything that required a sticky mat, it was an issue and I slipped on the rug. Fortunately, there are yoga mats that are made out of non-toxic Thermal Plastic Elastomer (TPE), rather than PVC. If I want to take a yoga class, I could bring my own non-PVC mat, but I’d still be in a room full of people using, most likely, PVC mats.

All that deep breathing just meant that I'd be deep breathing in a room full of PVC particulates. I hated to do it, but I donated all three of our yoga mats. Since I still needed at least one mat in the house, I ordered a TPE-based mat. The one really nice thing about the new mat was the fact that it didn't have that "new mat" smell. And, I ended up avoiding yoga studios until the project was over.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Edible front yard

After going to see Novella of Farm City fame last week, my husband announced that he wanted to turn our front lawn into edible landscaping.

Now, it should be no surprise to you that I've wanted to do this to our front yard for years, but didn't think he'd be game for the work that would go in to it. However, he hates grass and our front lawn is not exactly the most beautiful turf in the neighborhood, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise (this picture is from March 2007 and the lawn is much less grass and more other things since then).

Other neighbors have removed their lawns, but I can count on two fingers the number of houses in our community that have any kind of edibles growing in their front yard. Okay, make that 1 finger. So, I've always been loathe to do what I really want out front. Our backyard is another matter, and it's turning more into raised bed central although we still have more grass than beds.

In either case, my husband is really getting into it and ordered a book on the matter. We have a couple great landscaping companies in Seattle than specialize in edibles so we'll probably be consulting them for design decisions otherwise we'll most likely end up with rows of raised beds.

What about you? Do you grow food in your front yard or do you keep it to the "safety" of the backyard?

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