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Pack in the veggies
Photo by Erin Kunkel; written by Julie Chai

Pack in the veggies

“I call it my front-yard grocery store,” says Elaine Uang of her kitchen garden, in Palo Alto, California. Although small, the space gets lots of sun, which is why she and her husband, Mike Greenfield, chose to grow edibles alongside their driveway. They harvest more fruits and veggies here than they imagined possible. The keys: good design, raised beds, and espaliers.

When they started the garden, Greenfield, a longtime gardener, focused on planting as many crops as possible; Uang, an architect, wanted to make sure everything looked good. She came up with an overall plan, then brought in collaborators to complete their vision.

Now the couple can harvest something whenever they’re hungry‚ whether peppers for lunchtime salads or melon for dessert; even their 18-month-old daughter helps with picking. And by having edibles in front, they’ve met neighbors who grow food too, so they now swap crops. “Every season is a learning experience,” Uang says. “It doesn’t matter what you grow as long as you give it a try.”

Info: Metalwork, planting plan: BaDesign, Oakland ( Planting and care: Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, Oakland (


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