Buckwheat grows next to asparagus at the Food at First community garden in Ames, Iowa.
Buckwheat possesses a dainty charm, its frothy white blossoms buzzing with bees above its kelly-green leaves. And buckwheat makes an excellent cover crop in the veggie patch once you’ve harvested your early-summer lettuce and peas. Just a little interesting discovery I learned last weekend during the second annual Edible Garden Tour in Ames, Iowa. The garden tour involved eight different gardens (both community and residential) scattered across town.
I had gone to reap a few ideas for my own front-yard garden. Along the way I met people passionate about edible gardening, sustainable agriculture and community involvement. I also found pretty, red-stemmed okra and masses of rudbeckia luring beneficial insects into the garden. I found tomato plants heavy with fruit and blueberries just starting to turn red.
Garden tours serve as wonderful motivators to try something different,such as cover crops to add nitrogen to your soil and suppress weeds. Which is exactly what I will do, before it’s too late in the season.
Rudbeckia swarms with beneficial insects in this lush residential edible garden.
Food at First grows, collects and redistributes food items to those in need in Ames, Iowa.
Last winter I agreed to place my garden on tour in mid-July. At the time I didn’t think that it would take any extra effort. After all, I’m usually photographing in the garden every couple of weeks, so I try to keep it in good condition. And I always enjoy sharing my garden with those who are interested. But this spring, it struck closer to home that the beds better be fully mulched (300 bags worth!), garden projects completed (a new water garden in the backyard), gaps in beds filled in (hurray for garden center shopping trips!), and plants fully groomed (a weekend of deadheading ahead) by the time the tour arrives next week.
I think that we’re just about ready for the group. The photos below take you on a virtual tour of my backyard. Next week I’ll show you the front yard. What do you think? Will it pass muster?
Herbal knot garden with lavender, germander, marigolds, and mealycup sage
New formal water garden
Firepit seating area
Boxwood knot garden with marigolds and ageratum
Mixed shrub and perennial border
Raised bed vegetable garden and compost bin screen
Potager, kitchen garden
Terraced vegetable beds