And so it begins…

Welcome, Reader, to Rousseau’s Garden.  The purpose of this blog is to share the experience of one family trying to finally create the garden of their dreams.  This dream was once limited to the desire for the elusive taste of real tomatoes; it has expanded to the more comprehensive goal of urban homesteading.  I use term “homesteading” with mild trepidation, as I tend to think of real, honest-to-goodness homesteaders as much more enterprising than we will ever be.  But, when we aspire, it is best to aim high and hope to get as close as possible.

We have planted gardens before — small and large — all over our backyard, as well as along our driveway on the south side of our house.  We have never experienced more than modest success, and have always ended the process disappointed and disillusioned.  We always lamented the fact that our front yard has the largest sunny area, all the while spending a fortune having it sprayed by landscapers and wasting precious weekend hours walking back and forth behind the mower.  We have a pretty big yard, front and back.  Our little post-war house is typical of the era:  materials were expensive, so the house is, let’s say, “modest;” land was cheap, so the yard is huge.  With two boys and a dog, the backyard sees lots of action, and taking away any part of it to establish a garden always seemed a shame, but gardening is a bit of an ancestral rite for me.  The attempt to have a decent garden along the driveway made sense in theory, but was complicated and too much work to be truly enjoyable.

And then I had the good fortune to see Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates:  Attack on the Front Lawn (  I had heard of front-yard gardening, but always in the context of people without sufficient backyards.  Mr. Haeg’s paradigm fit very nicely into both our gardening goals and world view.  We have planned what we believe will be a beautiful (and, we hope, prolific!) garden space for our front yard and have started sprouting our seeds indoors.  My husband will be taking a few vacation days from work and we are going to spend them enjoying spring, building our green empire, and, hopefully, having lots of interesting conversations with neighbors about our project.

In the meantime, I’m going to return to my search for the best urban chicken coop… another story for another time.



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