Jul 9, 2011 at 11:41 am #1276494
I don't even know what to say about this one. A woman in Oak Park, MI has been charged with a misdemeanor for having a vegetable garden in her front yard. Apparently, it is against city code. She could face up to 93 days in jail. She will have a trial by jury (if this even makes it past pretrial.)
I grow my own vegetables. It saves money, I can eat them, and it is a better use of resources than a well manicured lawn (which I can't eat, must mow, and weed.)
I could go on forever about this one, but here are some links:
AOL/Huffington Post article:
Her Facebook Support Page:
Note to self: My membership has expired….crap….time to renew!Jul 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm #1757516
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Interesting, huh, that we will fight tooth and nail for lofty principles like our right to carry guns and our right to form our own party and to worship whichever god we choose (or not choose) — and yet, we are constantly outflanked by our neighbors (and the @%#& homeowners association) who keep telling us we can't paint our own house purple or build a taller fence around our own property or plant a bloody vegetable garden in our own front yard!
In China (to use as a contrast), the minute you go public about wanting an alternative party to the Communist one, you WILL be thrown in jail. And you can't worship any god that isn't properly registered with the government. OTOH, you can spit and smoke almost anywhere, remodel your home however you want, and even drive / park right on the sidewalk — and nothing will happen to you!
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.Jul 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm #1757517
I read about this recently as well. Absolutely absurd.
I'd encourage everyone to sign the petition to the city planner linked on her facebook support page.
In addition to drought-tolerant decorative plants, I now have about 1000 sq. feet of edible garden on my 5400' lot, including a front yard garden as well…no grass at my house, only mulch, walkways, and planter beds. Including eggs from chickens I raise, we've had at least 6 meals this week that were produced entirely off of my own land.
In addition to being able to feed myself, family, and neighbors, my water bill is literally 1/2 that of my neighbor (as friends, we have compared actual bills), who has his yard landscaped with grass and flowers. I also spend far less time and energy raking, mowing, and blowing than my neighbors. Seems to me any city with a little foresight would be going to lengths to encourage people to ditch the lawn for a garden or water-wise alternative, especially here in the Southwest.
Cases like this are such blatant examples of how misguided this culture has become; the fact that maintaining a certain image should be more important than health, wise use of resources, and self sufficiency…but I guess we crossed that line long ago.
On a similar note, check out the case of over 21 Food Not Bombs activists being arrested in Florida for "illegally" providing free meals the homeless or any in need without a city permit.
Yeah. I wonder if Jesus had a permit.Jul 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm #1757529
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Arresting for lack of permit is a favorite ploy for those in power to enforce their ways onto others. And, of course, if those activists were to apply for a permit, there's a strong likelihood they wouldn't get one!
Burn the Stars and Stripes, if you must, but don't come feeding the homeless in our neighborhood.Jul 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm #1757556
"In addition to being able to feed myself, family, and neighbors, my water bill is literally 1/2 that of my neighbor (as friends, we have compared actual bills), who has his yard landscaped with grass and flowers."
Do you use drip irrigation, Craig?
"On a similar note, check out the case of over 21 Food Not Bombs activists being arrested in Florida for "illegally" providing free meals the homeless or any in need without a city permit.
Yeah. I wonder if Jesus had a permit."
No, but the Romans were really inconsistent. He fed all those people with one fish and one loaf and they let him alone. OTOH, when he chased the money changers out of the temple…..
A cautionary message for Obama?
"Seems to me any city with a little foresight would be going to lengths to encourage people to ditch the lawn for a garden or water-wise alternative"
Makes me feel lucky to be living in Seattle. It seems like every other front yard is a veggie patch up here, and most of the rest put to shrubs and flowers. Problem is, they're promoting water conservation up here so they can used the water saved to cram more people in, which is even worse in the long run from an environmental standpoint.Jul 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm #1757583
No drip right now Tom, but I'm looking into it. Right now I've had really good success with using water jugs (sometimes called ollas); they're porous clay jugs with very narrow necks fired to a low temperature (I throw them myself). They get buried in planter boxes with only the necks sticking out. Filled with water, the water slowly seeps out into the soil- roots tend to gravitate towards them. It keeps a constant soil moisture and reduces the frequency of watering. Combined with generous mulch to reduce evaporation and spot watering, this system has worked well.
Here's a link about them on my blog:
http://sweepingthegarden.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/ollas/Jul 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm #1757606
Now THAT is ingenious! Sounds like the same type of jugs they use in Afghanistan to keep water cool in their blistering hot summers. They always have a film of moisture on the outside, and the water is always cool, if not always pathogen free, as I learned the hard way once upon a time. :-(
Using them for irrigation is pretty cool. Only minor downside I can think of is that they take up growing space in the beds.
Great looking veggies, BTW. You've clearly got your soil dialed in.Jul 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm #1757636
Ingenious indeed, hardly my invention. I've heard of different styles of these used amongst early agricultural peoples all over the world, especially here in the Southwest.
I've since found that a layer of window screen or mosquito netting wrapped over the opening is helpful in preventing larvae and dirt from getting in- the latter of which will eventually plug the container's pores. I still don't quite understand their longevity- how long it takes before the pores are sealed…but as a potter they're easy and cheap for me to replace. I can knock out a dozen one gallon containers in about an hour.
As for soil, we're really just lucky. I've only lived on this property for 1.5 years; we've inherited really rich soil living on a large alluvial fan a mile from the base of the San Gabriel mountains. I get free mulch for topsoil from the city waste management/dump and supplement the natural soil with manure from the chickens and homemade compost.Jul 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm #1757838
"As for soil, we're really just lucky. I've only lived on this property for 1.5 years; we've inherited really rich soil living on a large alluvial fan a mile from the base of the San Gabriel mountains."
It's really hard to improve on what it took Mother Nature thousands of years to create, but replacing what you take out of the soil and replacing the organic matter that constantly gets oxidized, especially if you till the soil, is critical-exactly what you are doing. It sounds to me like you are well on the way to a sustainable system. Pretty cool, Craig.
BTW, do you have any idea how people originally figured out how to make the porous pots?Jul 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm #1757850
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
If you fill the pots with water, how long can you leave without applying any more water
I like to be able to take a one week trip without doing anything for the gardenJul 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm #1757858
My best guess on how people discovered this: by-product of limited clay technology. Before people understood how achieve temperatures high enough to vitrify clay, melt glazes, or discovered glaze composition period, all clay would have been in a very porous state after firing…especially after the relatively low temperatures produced in open pits or simple updraft kilns. It would be pretty apparent fairly quickly that water would seep through the clay with- like the coolers you mention in Afghanistan. They knew pots needed to be sealed and employed all manner of other techniques: tar, sap, natural resins, wax…until glazes and higher temperature kilns/firings were discovered.
How long will they keep a bed moist?
In summer, I find that these pots (1 gallon size), staggered 1 at the center of every 2-3' radius reduce watering from daily to every other day/3 days. Mulch and chips to prevent evaporative loss through the bed surface is key though. To make it a week, I'd install drip. It's actually very easy and pretty cheap to do- plenty of online tutorials.
Side note: Aside from cooling water, the porosity of clay is being used with great success for treatment of water in less developed countries. A thick clay pot is nested at the mouth of a 5 gallon bucket, filled with water, the water slowly drips through, filtering it. The clay has been brushed with colloidal silver, which neutralizes viruses/bacteria, while the clay strains out bigger pathogens. An easy to make, cheap solution to water contamination that many aid groups are teaching people to produce locally. Basically just a large, simple version of a backpacking ceramic filter. I know some groups that have been active in helping set up local shops for these in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Yemen.Jul 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm #1757861
"My best guess on how people discovered this: by-product of limited clay technology."
Now that makes sense. Thanks, Craig.
And I'm going to pass on the beta about filtering water to a Bengali friend who is involved in water quality issues in West Bengal. Any sources for specific how to material would be greatly appreciated.Jul 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm #1757868
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
She will have a trial by jury
I have just started our first worm farm and hope to start growing my own veggies soon. Growing up my parents and grandparents all grew massive amounts of fruit and veg. My parents are now both approaching 70 and still spend hours everyday out in the garden.
Almost everyone of my grandparents generation seemed to have a home garden or an allotment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotment_%28gardening%29Jul 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm #1758646
Poor woman. That is crazy!Jul 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm #1759794
The prosecutors dropped the charges today:
But she's not out of the woods yet…looks like she registered her dogs with the city a little late. Oops…Jul 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm #1759809
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I missed this earlier. I have to say, that garden really looks nice and well kept. But that is how things are going in this country, others want to determine how everyone should live their lives, from A to Z.
The city probably backed off because of the national publicity, but they will make another run at her down the road. Too bad.Jul 25, 2011 at 10:43 am #1762836
What are we coming to when it's illegal to grow food to feed yourself…
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