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Curbside gardening

  • Subject: [cg] Curbside gardening
  • From: Connie Nelson <gardenfoolery@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 08:57:26 -0800 (PST)

I have an easement between my back fence and the road, approximately 10 feet by 100 feet.  The soil is just road fill which I have been amending with compost.
When I moved in the easement was approximately knee deep in sundry weeds.  Not only was it a visual irritant, some of the weeds fell into the category of noxious weeds, ergo, they were "oiled" by the county to kill them or we received a notice to cut them down.
Neither solution was satisfactory to me, so I pulled each and every one of them up by hand, nearly causing multiple accidents as motorists slowed down to rubberneck at the crazy lady in the easement.  
After giving my husband yet more gray hairs, the weeds were out and I started planting, primarily flowers.  I then started making raised beds with some rocks brought up from the river.  At that point, I received one of many visits from my county officials. 
No, you can't do this, yada, yada, yada.  I then pointed out the savings to the county if I get the area free of weeds, which would also impact my neighbors resulting in further savings.  Also, the increased tax revenue the county would receive by the increased real estate value of the subdivision as my neighbors were also cleaning up their easement areas.  Bogus, I know, but they bought into it.  (Somehow I knew that degree in business would pay off somewhere...)
Now we have a friendly relationship and they periodically slap me on the wrist and then come to admire what I've done.  I did take one piece of their advice though.  I removed the rocks as during the  winter some of the cars couldn't see the edge of the road as well due to heavy snow conditions and were running over them.  Also I have a bus stop right there as well and pedestrians were tripping over the rocks they couldn't see.  I did contact our local bus company and enlighten them to what I'm doing and have made a habit of waving at all the bus drivers, many of whom now slow down to shout hello and wave.
Point of this rambling is that you can use the land, but you do need to be sensitive to the impact on others as well as the nutritional benefits or lack thereof.
As seems to be the concensus of the rest of the list serv, I would not grow edibles there, but that's ok, because it's plenty big enough to grow lots of edibles for the eye and soul, saving other space to grow edibles to eat.  I do grow beans on the flip side of the fence just because I'm too lazy to build runner strings up for them.  Not only do I avoid that task, it softens the harsh look of the storm fencing.
Green wishes to all,
Connie Nelson

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