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Whether you grow your veggies in the front yard or mix your flowers with your edibles, this website is for you!

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I harvested 67.8 pounds of sweet potatoes. You can too.

Discover how to grow a winter’s worth of sweet potatoes from one or two store-bought roots.

Get the Sweet Potato Grow Guide

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A return to the garden

A return to the garden

So, it’s been a while. A bit more than a full year, in fact. I haven’t deliberately stayed away. It’s more a product of the whole only-so-many-hours-in-the-day thing. You see, right about the time when I posted my last blog post, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. (!!!) Then, about 14 hours later (or so it seemed), I got slammed with the most intense exhaustion I’ve ever experienced. No morning sickness for me. No strange food cravings at 3 a.m. No wild mood swings. But, oh boy, exhaustion. Or, more accurately: E X H A U S T I O N. By the time my energy began returning — several months later — I was facing a long list of home repairs and renovations that needed doing before the wee one’s arrival. Plus, there was that Monday-through-Friday need to work so I could pay the bills. The result? Something had to give. And, by default, that something was the garden and the blog. Sorry about that. But, now I’m back and delighted to introduce you to the cutest “harvest” I’ve grown yet! She’s wonderful. Distracting, demanding, and time consuming, but so so wonderful. We’ve just celebrated her three-month birthday, and while it’s been delightful to spend the winter cocooned with her at home, I’m getting a bit twitchy. It’s time to get my hands dirty again. It’s time to return to the garden. Starting with: weeding. * * * The truly delightful thing about a garden is how forgiving it is. Find yourself pregnant and exhausted and unable to summon up the energy to lift a trowel? No... read more

A return to the garden

So, it’s been a while. A bit more than a full year, in fact. I haven’t deliberately stayed away. It’s more a product of the whole only-so-many-hours-in-the-day thing. You see, right about the time when I posted my last blog post, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. (!!!) Then, about 14 hours later (or so it seemed), I got slammed with the most intense exhaustion I’ve ever experienced. No morning sickness for me. No strange food cravings at 3 a.m. No wild mood swings. But, oh boy, exhaustion. Or, more accurately: E X H A U S T I O N. By the time my energy began returning — several months later — I was facing a long list of home repairs and renovations that needed doing before the wee one’s arrival. Plus, there was that Monday-through-Friday need to work so I could pay the bills. The result? Something had to give. And, by default, that something was the garden and the blog. Sorry about that. But, now I’m back and delighted to introduce you to the cutest “harvest” I’ve grown yet! She’s wonderful. Distracting, demanding, and time consuming, but so so wonderful. We’ve just celebrated her three-month birthday, and while it’s been delightful to spend the winter cocooned with her at home, I’m getting a bit twitchy. It’s time to get my hands dirty again. It’s time to return to the garden. Starting with: weeding. * * * The truly delightful thing about a garden is how forgiving it is. Find yourself pregnant and exhausted and unable to summon up the energy to lift a trowel? No... read more

A New Spring and a New Look for Outlaw Garden.

March 20. Today is the day for two long-awaited arrivals. The first you surely know about — spring!! But the second may be a surprise — the relaunch of a fully redesigned Outlaw Garden! First, give yourself a big and happy pat on the back for making it through another winter (and if you’re also getting SNOW today, please just ignore the flakes flying around outside). Then, please take a tour of the newly-redesigned Outlaw Garden website (maybe start with the homepage?). I’d love to know what you think. Compliments are great, but suggestions and recommendations are even better. Let me know what you like and what you don’t — please post your feedback in the comments section below — and I’ll do what I can to make the site even better going forward. Here’s a bit of what you’ll find as you look around: A brand new resources section Click on over to the new resources section for a list of recommended tools, books, and seed suppliers. I’ll continue to add to the resource page going forward. Have a suggestion for something to include? Please share your ideas and feedback below. A fun new logo What do you think? One of my friends is an incredibly talented illustrator. She and I have been collaborating on this new logo for a couple months now — she provided all the talent while I nit-picked about colors and layout — and I’m thrilled with the result. A little bit of fun and a little bit of rebellion, just like us rule-breaking gardeners! Brighter colors and bigger text As you explore the site, you’ll notice lots... read more

A Seed-Swap Thank You!

Two hours. Dozens of gardeners. Hundreds of seed packets. Today’s seed swap was a success! Many many thanks to all of you who helped make the event everything it could be. Some of you helped distribute signs, set up the event, or clean up afterwards. Two local companies — Haute Cakes Pastry Shop and Great Harvest Warrenton — generously provided some delicious goodies for us gardeners to enjoy. And, of course, many of you brought seeds, swapped seeds, gossiped about seeds and gardening, and shared your gardening cheer. This event would not be possible without all of you! Thank you, all! I’m already thinking ahead to next year’s event. If you have any suggestions or requests, let me know.... read more

12 Weekend Projects for the Last Weekend of Winter

You guys! We’ve nearly made it. A week from today — Friday, March 20 — marks the first day of spring. That means this weekend is our last weekend of winter. Huzzah! To celebrate, I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite projects and it’s-almost-spring activities: build a birdhouse (or buy one) build a bee house (or buy one) build a trellis start some sweet potatoes start some sunchokes attend a seed swap order some new-to-you seeds order some new-to-you books order some new-to-you tools clean your tools review the 10 rules for rule-breaking gardens take a walk and look for wildlife My personal list for this weekend includes our local community seed swap (come join us if you’re near Warrenton, Virginia), building a birdhouse or bee house (or two), and starting more sweet potato slips. What about... read more

March Thaws Bring Spring’s Wild Things

I took a walk through the woods today. There, in the shadow of bare tree branches, the earliest plants are beginning to reach toward the sky. No flowers yet. No swollen buds even. Not yet. But soon. The walk was just a chance to shake off some of winter’s cobwebs. Let the dog run a little. Soak up some Vitamin D. And then, I nearly stepped on a snake. There was snow on the ground just last week. A snake, reptile or other cold-blooded type creature was not at all what I expected to see today. Spring can be so delightfully surprising. The snake was just a garter snake. Nothing to fear, and certainly something to celebrate. These slender, harmless snakes love the taste of slugs, and are great additions to the garden. This particular individual was sluggish — surely cold — and had a dusting of dirt on its head and eyes. I suspect it had only just emerged from its long winter’s nap, and was soaking up its first warm sun rays of the season. After today’s encounter, I’m wondering when I’ll see my first snake of the season in the Outlaw Garden — at least one garter snake lives here among the strawberries and tomatoes. I’m also wondering about the toads and the skinks, and then of course the butterflies and bees and other wild critters that set up housekeeping in the garden. Soon, it’ll be a bustle of life again, and I just can’t wait. I’ve written about this “wilderness” in the garden before: It’s not a Garden. It’s a Habitat. Wildlife in the Garden... read more

Preparing for the Seed Swap (again)

Snow and cold canceled our seed swap back in February. Now, we’re looking at a forecast of rain and warmth for this Saturday, the date of our rescheduled seed swap. I’ll take it. Good trade! For those of you close enough to Warrenton, Virginia, to come join us for the seed swap, I hope to see you there! Bring your extra seeds, and bring along any friends or family members who are garden-curious. Here’s all you need to know: Read more about the seed swap here on the blog. View the seed swap invite on Facebook, and share it around with your... read more

Spring Is Nearly Here: Just 10 Days to Go!

We’ve nearly made it. Forty days of spring countdown are behind us, and just 10 more to go. Let’s help one another push through these final days of our spring countdown with photos from our gardens and neighborhoods. I’ll start. Here’s how things looked yesterday in the garden, when the sun was shining and the snow-ice-sleet was melting: Dogwood buds! Garlic! Hyacinth bulbs sending up their first shoots. Snowdrops, of course. Crocuses! And the witch hazel is still going strong! * * * Now it’s your turn. Head on over to the Outlaw Garden Facebook page and share one or more it’s-almost-spring photos from your garden. Or if Twitter is more your thing, share your photos there and just be sure to tag them with #countdowntospring and @outlawgarden. And for those of you still buried in snow, I hope this’ll give you some hope that the thaw is coming your way. Just a little longer… Let’s bring a little spring to the... read more

I harvested 67.8 pounds of sweet potatoes. You can too.

 

Discover how to grow a winter’s worth of sweet potatoes from one or two store-bought roots.

Get the Sweet Potato Grow Guide

Gardening is civil and social,

but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.

— Henry David Thoreau

Explore Rule-Breaking Vegetable Gardens

Coming soon! This new feature will share real-world examples of rule-defying gardens in small towns, big cities, and wherever else gardeners are challenging the “rules” of vegetable gardening.

The Outlaw Garden

There’s nothing terribly special about the Outlaw Garden. My house is a typical suburban house in a typical suburban neighborhood. The soil isn’t great (compost helps), a big pine casts mid-day shade, and the gardener — that’s me! — makes more than her fair share of mistakes. If I can do it, so can you!

Click here to read more about the Outlaw Garden.

Is your garden rule-breaking?

Are you a status-quo-defying gardener? If you are growing your veggies in the front yard, landscaping with edibles, or otherwise cultivating a rule-breaking garden, I’d love to hear about it. Email me about your garden, and your garden may be featured in the Outlaw Garden blog! Thank you!

- Cristina

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FREE GUIDE!

10 Rules for Breaking the Rules in Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

FREE GUIDE!

10 Rules for Breaking the Rules in Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

Feeling rebellious? This guide includes ten tips that will help you plant a front yard vegetable garden without upsetting the neighbors or worrying the HOA board. 

Welcome, rule-breaker! You're nearly done — just check your email for instructions on claiming your free guide. Then, get ready to break some rules in the vegetable garden!

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