Monday, February 1, 2010

Grow Your Own

As a child I gardened with my mom. I remember eating carrots and green beans from my backyard. At my old house I had a sunny side yard with a 12 x 12 area perfect for veggies. I moved out of there in 1995, and I haven't grown a vegetable since. Part of the problem was that when I moved out I was pregnant with a toddler in tow and no partner. I've been busy....  

At my current home, I managed to rip up all the lawn in the front and side and plant bushes and shrubs and flowers - much of which has been overrun by ivy, but that's cool.  I did most of the work with the little ones helping me, although I do remember one or two long dark nights spent prepping the soil - a job children tend to grow weary of too soon. 

A few years back I helped the neighbour across the street from me rip up her sod and prep her entire front yard for tomatoes and corn and marigolds and lettuces.  That's the view I have from my front window, and it's lovely.  Now it's time for me to get back to growing food.  The only good sunny patch I have left is in the backyard.  The lawn barely grows there anyway, and the kids rarely play on the grass.  I'll leave a path to the playhouse, then rip the rest up.  The dog will adjust.

If you intend to do the same, be aware that in some jurisdictions it's illegal to plant a vegetable garden in the front yard.  In Cambridge, expect a $110 fine.  In other areas, people like architect Fritz Haeg are changing minds about what a front yard should look like.  His reasoning, "I think people are realizing that the systems that we're trapped in, that we're born into, now are leading us to places that are neither pleasurable nor sustainable.  Food production, transportation, energy, city-making, building construction.  It's all inherently flawed and we're all looking for ways to change it.  The question is:  Will we be able to do it in time?"

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