Have you heard about the lady who had to go to jail because she planted veggies in her front yard? No, that's not the beginning of a joke... though I can see how you might think it was, it sound silly enough to be one. Sadly, not a joke, and not even funny.
Meet Julie Bass of Oak Park, MI - this is her blog:Oak Park Hates Veggies, here she is in the news: Julie Bass of Oak Park Faces Misdemeanor Charge for Vegetable Garden and here is a petition you can sign online to help her: Stop the Prosecution of the Bass Family for Growing Veggies.
This is her yard, her front yard veggie garden:
They had to tear out their old yard to repair a sewer pipe and decided to install some raised beds and grow some food for their family. Sound pretty criminal, no? Of course not. She is not in jail (yet, though it sounds like her town council would like to put her there), but is going to trial over it this month. I sure hope she wins and shows that town of hers what's what. Please take the time to sign her petition and even send a letter to her city, if it strikes you as crazy and unfair as it does me.
Growing a garden seems like such a basic right. If you own your own land, you should be able to grow your own food, to feed your own family. And unless you bought into a community with strict laws about what color you had to have your house painted and how high your fence can be and how many cars you can park in your driveway... you should be able to do just that. And not only that, but look at her place - it's totally neat and clean, not a weed to be seen. And she was starting with a bare dirt from the pipe issue, so it's not like she's even had time to let it grow and get wonderful yet!
I don't know why this has struck such a nerve with me, but it has - it's making me very mad, and she's half way across the country! Of course I'm on the West Coast where it's very hip to have edible landscaping - it's part of the whole urban homesteading thing - and I too have had edibles in my front yard. It was great. I met more neighbors the one summer I had the raised beds out front than I have the entire 5 years I've lived here. The neighbors walking by when I was out there working or watering would comment on my veggies, telling me how they were watching that pepper turn red, or wow, how great to see my garden growing, or whatever. When we pulled it out to move it all to a sunnier spot, people stopped to tell me they would miss seeing my garden grown. Just thinking about it, and knowing Julie Bass's story, makes me want to put some edibles back out there. And I think I will!
(I was telling Frank about this story and the first thing he said was "You are going to put some veggies back out front, aren't you? And I support you, we should." - This is just one of the reasons I love that man.)
I've been looking at gardening books and googling front yard veggie garden pictures, and I have to say, I'm totally inspired.
Let me inspire you, too, but only after you go back up to those links and sign that petition, ok?!
First, the books, I do love gardening books:
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
And now for the pictures - just google front yard gardens and hit images to see tons more:
First of all, I wonder who's house this is? The ultimate in front yard veggie gardens:
Great article: Why the White House garden matters.
Sunset Magazine's Grow Veggies in the Front Yard
A really beautiful front yard veggie garden:
And another, this one is huge! The link is worth clicking, just to see the garden progress from sprouts to lush wonder:
OK, that's plenty, you get the idea. What are you going to plant in your front yard? Are you as hot and bothered by this as I am? I think I'm going to start with strawberries and blueberries. And sunflowers. Maybe I'll try some pole beans too since the ones in my back yard are not doing so great. Whatever, you know I'll share pictures when I get this project going. But first, I need to go write a letter to Julie Bass's City Council. Did you sign that petition yet? Please do!