SHE’LL BOOST YOUR GARDEN FOOTPRINT

Wendyweiner2Sure beets store-bought: Wendy Weiner in her vegetable garden.

When Wendy Weiner moved to Little Silver from Hunterdon County a little more than a year ago, she hoped to plant a back yard vegetable garden. But the yard didn’t get enough sunshine.

So she created the garden in her front yard instead, on busy Rumson Road. She built four raised beds, which she filled with soil and compost and planted with seeds.

“I just thought, ‘I’m putting it out front,'” she says. Within weeks, the sun-splashed beds were “cranking,” she says.

Using cold-frame coverings for the beds extended the season. “I was eating out of this garden in January,” she says.

This year, she’s got nine beds evenly arrayed on her rich green lawn, which she keeps chemical-free and trims with a reel mower. Already, some of the beds are bursting with greenery: beets, collard greens, lettuce, onions and garlic.

Also in the soil are strawberries, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and radishes.

“The only problem I have is bunnies,” she says.

Weiner, who’s made a living as a gardener for the past dozen years, also uses her yard as a showcase of sorts for a service she’s launched called the Front Yard Farmer. For a fee, she’ll come to your home and do what she did at her own: build raised beds and start gardens.

As part of the service, she makes regular visits both to tend the beds and to instruct customers who want to become self-sufficient at it.

“The thrust of this is to teach people how to do it themselves,” says Weiner, 49, a mother of two adult children. “I want to get people growing their own.”

Weiner charges from $460 to set things up for clients who already know how to garden to $680 for those who need more hand-holding, as she calls it.

As for her own little farm, no one’s complained to her, and its presence has served as a conversation starter with neighbors she’s still meeting, Weiner says.

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