1- Estelle, your front yard looks like a small - and thriving – vegetable farm. Why did you decide to use it this way?
A: There is too much shade in my backyard for a vegetable garden. Plus, I wanted to inspire other people to add edible plants to their front yard landscapes. As a nation we need to learn to grow our own healthy food. The industrial agriculture and packaged food industries have failed Americans and is getting worse all the time. My garden is a large and evolving art project. I enjoy applying my designer and business skills to the garden. I’m fascinated by the complexity and challenge of gardening since it has so many levels – healthy food, beautiful design, plant science, weather, cost, labor time, etc.
2- I have to ask about your partner. How long have you two been working together – and why the partnership?
A: The garden is too large for me to handle by myself. We have front, back and side gardens with only a small lawn in the front. Willie and I have been working together on the vegetable garden for about 2 years. Carolynn Hunt has been handling the decorative plant beds for about 3 years. Willie and I experiment with veggie gardening methods that require both our skill sets. I handle the design, daily maintenance and plant health side. Willie handles the infrastructure side – raised beds, irrigation, rain barrels, hauling mulch and compost, heavy lifting and technical problem solving.
3- There’s a lot of stuff here. Do you eat it all? Preserve it? Share it?
A. I share the food with friends and family. I will freeze some of it. My husband and I eat lots of vegetables since we don’t each foods containing grain or sugar. We eat very very little processed or restaurant food.
4- At the end of this south bed, there are a few faucets and pipes. It looks like you are irrigating the beds? How do you do that?
A: We are experimenting with an automatic sub-irrigation system called AquaJet (IntelligentDesign.com) There is a single high pressure pipe buried about 4 inches under the soil. It has a timer and soon with also have a soil moisture sensor. We are still experimenting with the best way to supply water to the system from rain barrels. When we are done the garden will water itself with free water collected from my roof.