Saturday, June 4, 2011

Renegade Garden: Growing food with out a yard

On sunny days when I am driving around town, my eyes wander to parking strips, those three-foot wide strips of grass that run between the street and the sidewalk. They are seldom landscaped or otherwise even noticed. Because of rules limiting anything that could block a driver's view as they back out of their driveway, these parking strips are often in full sun. I think the same thing every time I contemplate these parking strips, "Just think how much food could be grown right there!"

There are some neighborhoods around Seattle where you can see examples of parking strip gardens overflowing with zucchini, kale, tomatoes and beans. As long as you don't block visibility for drivers, the city is very tolerant of the space being used for something other than grass.

My brother is an apartment dweller in Oakland, California with a green thumb and has found a few ways to grow food without a yard. He has converted a tiny sidewalk spot into raised beds and has a collection of pots filling his patio and greeting him at the front door. He says that he has had little problem with people helping themselves to the bounty.

He was skeptical of the patch of the litter filled dirt between the stairs and the garage, so he lined the inside of the raised bed and brought in clean soil. Considering Seattle's cold spring, I am a bit envious of his basil.


Alaina said...

Not only does your garden give you fresh veggies and herbs and use up otherwise forgotten and wasted space, i am sure many people will walk or drive by and think "i never thought of doing that! What space can I use in my neighborhood?". There is a big lot that was being developed for apartments in my neighborhood, but was put on hold when the economy tanked. it has since been turned into a community garden (with the understanding that it will be torn out when the builder continues the project). We need to use these spaces and wake people up to the possibilities of fresh (and free) food right in front of them.

Dakota said...

I often think the same thing! I especially hate the concrete strips in the middle of streets that could at least have native plants in them... it's so sad to see that space and there's no way to grow anything in it.

Shelby said...

The little garden that could is feeding us tonight!