Web Video on Suburban & Rental Property Gardening

Reading through Organic Consumers Association “Organic Bytes” newsletter this morning, I came upon this link to a half-hour video on suburban farming–otherwise known as turning-your-lawn-into-a-food-source gardening.

What’s interesting about this particular video is that it diverges slightly from the ideas of permaculture in that it takes into account our mobile population. So many folks who are renting, and who are not planning on staying in one spot for more than a year or two (say, while they’re going to college), don’t grow gardens because they don’t want to “lose” all their work when their lease expires (though I am one who left gardens at every place I ever rented).

This video suggests ways that renters can grow at least some of their own food for the short term. Granted, the set-up in the video looks to be a plan for a couple years’ time (and how many landlords will let you have chickens?), but it shows how food production is possible in small spaces in suburban settings.

I’ve been excited about this concept for some time (though with my own place, I can use more of the permaculture designs) while I slowly get my plan together for turning at least half of my front yard into a mixed vegetable, herb, and flower garden underneath the two heirloom apple trees I put in a couple years ago.

It also gets me thinking more about the guerrilla gardening projects I have in mind for various neglected spots in town. Not so much for growing food–but when I see these little weedy berms that look unclaimed and neglected I can’t help but picture myself, under cover of darkness, weeding them out and transplanting a few dividings of hardy flowers and herbs from my gardens.

Those little “guerrilla gardens” would at least provide some bee and butterfly forage and habitat. I know that land is owned by someone–but would they really rather have the crabgrass collecting bits of plastic trash, or something that is beautiful and, as far as they know, self-maintained?


4 responses to this post.

  1. I am always thinking the same thing!! (How covert can I be?) Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of people who wish they could do some guerilla landscaping in MY yard – which I can never seem to muster the energy to take proper care of.
    Have you read “food not lawns” by H.C. Flores? One of my favorites. Someday I’ll put her theories to practice.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on July 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I have not read that! Sounds like it’d be right up my…alley!

    Yeah, I don’t always have the best-looking yard myself–but I figure I can take one or two little steps every year toward a lawn-less existence.

    Hmm. Perhaps we should share some ideas (and get some black ski masks) and identify a couple small projects for a moonless night…

  3. Yes!

  4. Posted by Amy on August 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Count me in for the nightime guerilla gardening! I have “accidentally” scattered extra herb and flower seeds in some of these areas and some has taken off (here and there). I haven’t actually taken a shovel, yet.

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