Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Food Lawns

Screw the neighbors, lawns suck, why not plant a vegetable garden instead? Grass is impossibly difficult to maintain and gives nothing back other than a little bit of oxygen and the illusion (if you are lucky and have a bit more acreage than the standard 75X125 foot postage stamp plots typical of suburban developments ) of living in a pastoral setting. And if you don't have enough space to grow what you will behind the house why not, as this article describes, grow it out front?

As a kid growing up in a post-war Levitt style development on Long Island, I often fantasized about replacing the two pads of lawn in front of our tiny brick cape with a bosky jungle. I never quite got what was so great about having an unobstructed view of a street full of parked cars and garbage cans. But I was never successful in convincing my parents to defy the prevailing aesthetic and to this day the lawn remains in place -just like all the other houses, save one. (Interestingly, the one house that does have a garden out front was renovated ten years back by a same sex couple.)

Growing front-yard food can rile neighbors -


Tags said...

How about bamboo? Just don't forget to dig a trench around it or your neighbors will sue you for invading THEIR lawns.

Don Luis said...

The link in your post is broken. Here it is.

Granted, Puerto Rico is a far cry from Long Island, but we haven't had a front lawn in years. Although we have mostly ornamental plants in the front of the house, we are slowly converting it to food plants.

We have six acres, and between us and our neighbor, we grow panas (breadfruit), yams, yautia, platanos, bananas, star fruit, pineapples, lemons, grapefruit, mangos, papaya, almonds, coconuts, calabaza, jobo, acerola, and much more. I planted a couple of figs this year, but I suspect they like a dryer climate.

We are clearing more jungle in the back of the house, and will plant 200 more banana plants (by "we" I mean my wife's cousin: I'll be watching American Chopper). We will sell the excess to the local markets.

Ed Bruske said...

Been there. Check this:

Deborah Dowd said...

We lived in the first federal housing project, Hilton Village in Newport news built for shipyard workers during WWI. When we moved in many of the "old-timers" who were original homeowners told about having "Victory gardens" in their little .2 acre backyards. Some of them even kept chickens for eggs during the war! It was a fund bit of history and for the 17 years we lived there we had a small garden in the back to keep the tradition going!