Friday, May 14, 2010

To Arms!

My Dad used to always wake us up in the morning by yelling, “To arms! To arms! The red coats are coming!” in true Paul Revere fashion. Today I give a similar cry. I am trying to change a small city ordinance that states that vegetables grown in the front yard must be shorter than 24 inches. What a ridiculous ordinance. This ordinance was passed last year because someone complained about a citizen growing corn in their front yard. They thought it was unsightly and complained to the city. This year I am going to try and change it back.
Why? you might ask. Growing plants vertically is a much more efficient way of doing it. By growing plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and squash vertically you can grow more plants in the same amount of space, you can fend off disease and pests because the leaves aren’t in the dirt, and it is easier to properly care for the plants when watering, pruning, and fertilizing. All this adds up to healthier plants, better produce production, and better looking gardens/yards. These are the best known practices for growing vegetables. This is the way the professional growers (both organic and other farmers) do it.
But why grow vegetables in the front yard? I say why not? I have a few reasons to do it myself.

1. My front yard is on the south side of my house and gets all the sun. There are huge sections of my back yard that never see the sun. I happen to know that the house that was growing the corn in their front yard also faces south.

2. I have 5 kids. They need space to play. They can’t play in the front yard because we live on a busy street. Between the trampoline and swing set there isn’t much room for a garden in the back yard.

3. One of my children has Autism and loves to play in the dirt and has killed vegetables in the back yard in the past.

4. We have a dog that likes to lie down on the vegetables.

5. If you do it right, vegetables can look really good in the front yard garden. Think about all the really tall ornamental grasses people put in their yards. Corn is a type of grass too.

6. I’m sick of mowing my lawn. Too many resources are wasted on lawns. I want to apply those resources to something that will make my life and the lives of my family more healthy, sustainable, and self reliant.

So what can we do about it? I have talked with one of our City Council members and I have made an appointment to meet with the City Mayor next week. You can call up your representative and ask them to make the change as well. Get your neighbors together and make some noise.

*Note: All of the pictures on this post were from a google search for "vertical garden".  None are from my own garden... Later on that.

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