How To Eat The View
Okay, I just have to say. Come right out and voice what I think. Here it is, lawns are a waste of time, energy, water and space. There that feels so much better.
The lawn was once a sign of wealth; it indicated that you have enough resources that you did not need the space to grow food or raise sheep.
The lawn was and still is a status symbol. Now droughts and dry spells and municipal watering limits have made some people change their ways but there is a still along journey ahead.
Can you picture your lawn as a food forest or envision using edible plants in your landscaping?
How about incorporating vegetables into your landscape design; consider a mix of herbs, tomatoes and nasturtiums?
As the price of food, gasoline and everything in between continues to rise are lawns a luxury that we can afford?
Take a look at public buildings, city halls, state and provincial legislatures, the Parliament buildings, the White House, lawns, lawns and more lawns; sure some have done some great landscaping but there is little growing that you can eat.
Now in these days of heightened security concerns, I am not suggesting that government building open their lawns to the public for community gardens, but what about growing food for sue within the government cafeterias, dining rooms and what have you?
What a great way to set an example and show what can be done.
Okay, let’s get back to your property and your neighbours. What can you do to get rid of that waste space we call the lawn?
Well, first let me say a good thing or two about a lawn, after all I grew up playing on one. Lawns do serve purposes; children play on them, pets romp on them and families and friends picnic on them; to name a few.
But the question you must ask is how much lawn and in particular backyard do you really need? Do an assessment; how do you and your family use the backyard; we are separating the back from the front as that is what is done. The front and back are often two separate spaces with separate purposes.
Now that you have the assessment; how do you use the backyard and do you need all the lawn you have to do those activities? If you do, that is fine, if you don’t ah, time to plan.
All you really need to grow some food is a small 6x6 space but if you start to combine food gardening with landscaping, you will find that you can have both a fine looking yard and a backyard food garden and grow more food that that 6x6 would normally provide.
Arbors are often used in backyard to divide the space and you will frequently see a plant such as clematis growing over one, well how about using scarlet runner beans instead or peas.
You may be growing a climbing rose over that trellis along the fence but what about an apple tree or cucumbers? There is a technique that enables the grower to make use of flat surface such as a fence to grow fruit among other things.
This technique is called espalier; an espalier (pronounced "es-PAL-yer") is any plant trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall, fence, or trellis. The word espalier also may be used to describe the technique of training a plant to this flat plane.
However, let’s take a walk out front. The front yard is a very different place than the backyard. You rarely see family BBQs on the front lawn, sure the kids may roam there and maybe the cat but the front yard is usually the show place; the attraction that established your house as being acceptable, as belonging to a decent, respectable neighbourhood.
Of course, let us not forget the curb appeal. The front yard is what visitors see when the first arrive at yoru home and first impressions are strong impressions, they will carry on well past the front door.
What are people going to think when they drive up or walk by and see broccoli, cabbage, carrots and peas growing on your front lawn?
Well do you care? If you are not selling the house, is curb appeal a worry? If you are not violating any municipal bylaws and please do check, who cares?
Now when it comes to growing food on the front lawn, you may find that you can best remain on friendly terms with the neighbours if you employ edible flowers and herbs with the tomatoes on your front lawn rather than cabbage and brussel sprouts; you may also find that you have a better change of not breaking any city bylaws if you use ornamental containers for the tomatoes rather than planting them in the ground.
The front yard is also a great place for a small fruit orchard, 3-4 apple trees or whatever fruit will grow where you live, can supplement you larder and look great as well. Chances are fruit trees do not violate city bylaws but check before planting.
If you do decide to grow food in the front yard, there are three things you can do to reduce the resistance to yoru ambition.
One: check city bylaws.
Two: make a detailed plan.
Three: let your neighbours know what you are doing. Be sure to show them your plan.
These three steps will go a long way to getting them on your side and they will worry less that you have lost it or are using illegal substances. Who knows you may step out onto your front porch one fine morning and find that your neighbours are approaching you and asking questions about how they can do the same and before you know it you are a trend setter and every house on the block has cut back on the waste that is the urban lawn and is growing food rather than battling weeds and cutting grass.
eat the view
- Eat the View!
Eat View campaign plant healthy, edible landscapes high-impact, high-visibility places.