We didn’t really plan it. It all started when I asked our neighbors a nonchalant question at their potluck in early February: “Can we garden in your backyard?” Fast forward to this past Sunday, and we’ve laid the groundwork for a pretty magnificent farm next-door.
Over the season, I’ll be documenting hour for hour, dollar for dollar, and pound for pound our labor and monetary inputs, and food output (respectively) of the garden in its first year of establishment*. (Update 1/27/10 – I never kept any records…oops!) I want to make a strong case to renters everywhere: you can plant a garden that saves you money, provides you with ultra-local organic food, AND helps you build stronger relationships with your neighbors, even if you can’t dig up your own yard (or don’t even have one to dig up). Along the way I’ll be posting about my methodology, along with ideas about how you can use the same tips and strategies wherever you are.
Try this at home, kids!
I’m willing to bet that most renters who live in a residential neighborhood and are unable, for whatever reason, to dig up their yard, have someone on their block who is eager to have their lawn turned into a productive food-growing space. With any luck, they’ll also be happy to swing a shovel and chip in on garden-related expenses (seeds, tools, etc.) as well. So don’t wait! Start asking your neighbors about their patches of sod that are just waiting to become a garden.
(P.S. If you’re currently gardening on borrowed land, or are about to get started, send photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org)
*While this has been done before, I haven’t found readily available documentation for an urban site using low-input methods.