Scott Stoll logo world traveler. A bicycle wheel and the globe symbolizes Scott's journey around the world on a bicycle.
Terraced garden peppers and tomatoes and pollinating plants
This is a terraced garden in Scott's front yard next to the sidewalk. Anyone that walks by is welcome to help themselves to a vegetable. Hot peppers are on the first row next to the sidewalk. (They are a little small this year.) Tomatoes are on the second row. The third and fourth rows are barely visible. And it is all surrounded by pollinating plants.

Grow Food NOT Grass

What better way to have a backyard adventure than to grow a garden?

Our Backyard Adventures are fun and easy mini-expeditions that you can do — you guessed it! — right in your own backyard. These activities are designed to help students and parents explore the world with eyes of wonder. Along the way, you might discover new areas of interest, new dreams and potential new careers.

Your adventure should you choose to accept it is…

Grow Food Not Grass Sign close up
This is another project you can do at home. Scott used a woodburning tool to make this sign. It’s a nice piece of maple wood. Did you recognize the apple and the egg in the word “food”?

ASSIGNMENT: Your adventure, should you choose to accept it, is to grow a simple garden. Growing basil in a pot is an easy way to get started. This post is more about inspiration than it is about how to garden. You can find lots of instructions on how to garden online or at the library. Better yet, find a neighbor that gardens and ask for help. Below you will see Scott’s latest improvements. It took him years to work up to this level, but it was NOT work — it was fun!

Example: Here is my new “Grow Food NOT Grass” sign that I made using a wood burner, a nice piece of walnut and some scraps. This goes with the terraced garden that I built in the spring. Actually, this is the front lawn, so my sign also serves to inspire everyone who walks past to plant their own garden.

I like to be a good neighbor and encourage people to cooperate, so I actually encourage people to take vegetables from my garden. But you’ll notice that I do put all the hot peppers upfront. I don’t want them to take everything. Haha. The best part is that sometimes my neighbors surprise me with some eggs from their chickens or a jar of jam.

A garden not only saves money, but it’s also more healthy and better for the environment. Some interesting factoids:

  • Over 90% of the vegetables in the grocery store come from a different state.
  • Almost all grocery store vegetables, even food labeled as organic, use pesticides and fertilizers.
  • If everyone grew their own garden, we could save billions of dollars and billions of gallons of gas used to transport the food.

Below is a picture of what my garden looks like today. As you can see, I learned a lot about gardening since the first try above. Finally, the grass, which was still sprouting up like a weed, is gone. It now has four terraces. I still plant hot peppers on the first row next to the sidewalk. (They are a little small this year.) Tomatoes are on the second row. More peppers. Barely visible are some flowers and herbs on the fourth level. And it is all surrounded by pollinating plants. The marigolds help keep the deer from eating my garden.

Garden harvest peppers and tomatoes
Garden harvest peppers and tomatoes. This is just a small portion of my harvest from the previous year. Mostly it is peppers. I eat the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, strawberries and other stuff as they ripen.

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