Front yard gardens look good, tasty

Think you have a green thumb? Prove it by entering contest

Steve Boey is making his front yard in Albion a productive piece of property.

Steve Boey is making his front yard in Albion a productive piece of property.

For Steve Boey, the most beautiful part of a grocery store is the produce area, where the fresh fruits and vegetables are displayed for shoppers to encourage healthy eating.

So why not have all that greenery, fruits and vegetables growing in your front yard, to make it look beautiful, as well?

That’s what Boey has done on his property in his new home in east Maple Ridge in what used to be a gravel pit.

Last year, Boey won the District of Maple Ridge’s Front Yard Food Garden Contest and is entering again this year.

In addition to berries, herbs and lettuce, he’ll plant more Brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, Swiss chard and kale, all of which grow through the winter months. Even carrots and beets can last into the new year.

Boey, though, has a secret for anyone contemplating entering Front Yard Food Garden Contest.

He doesn’t try that hard. Basically, find a good place, plant the seeds or the little plants, give them a good watering every few days and nature does the rest, especially in the verdant Fraser Valley.

“I like to grow food. There’s no major political reason for it. I’m not a tree hugger. It just seems natural for me to grow food.”

After planting, weeding takes the most time and work. But vegetables seem to be able to crowd out many of the weeds.

Despite the work, growing your own produce hardly makes financial sense, given the abundance of cheap prices in grocery stores.

However, the satisfaction of growing a good garden can’t be bought. People often brag about the carrots and potatoes they grow. Years ago, it used to be commonplace to grow a vegetable garden, he added.

Asked what are the three easiest vegetables to grow, Boey said chives, raspberries and potatoes.

“There are some things it’s almost impossible to kill,” such as oregano, which can take over a garden. Strawberries are weeds, he added.

The most difficult to grow is cilantro, followed by tomatoes and fruit trees.

“I look forward to the see how other participants in this year’s contest plan to transform their front yards,” Boey said.