I share my front yard   Leave a comment

I share my front yard with my next door neighbor and her next door neighbor, the Senora. Our neighborhood is urban.
I love all of my neighbors, but especially the two families that let Me garden their open spots in the concrete sidewalk. Not long ago, three houses on our block took out concrete and added new dirt and plants.
The plants were controversial for a while because people take sides. This is normal or average I think, for humans to take sides. There was the car side and the plant side. Some people think the car rules and if the car has to be more careful there should be no plants and some people or me think, we should have plants and open dirt with no plants and trees or bushes and food plants, of course, anywhere and everywhere and benches too.
You can see how plants could become an issue for our side of the block, but  instead we three really talked; the senora wanted something beautiful and doubted from my earlier plantings that it would ever be beautiful and I explained, that even if it was ugly it was alive. She understood me, I saw it and I understood her, she saw it. I planted a beautiful pink rose tree on the Senora’s side where mild opposition to the ugly plants has dissolved and we are real friends and neighbors. The rose trees seems to always be in bloom, it’s beautiful. My next door neighbor and my friend agreed to open her sidewalk, as long as I promised to take care of the garden. Can you believe it? I walk out my front door and get to farm in her dirt. I am so lucky. Her and my yards are blended or I would have planted it with food, but instead put a rock, large enough to sit on, another rose tree, that is so cute, right now in bloom. Herbs that grow low we planted in the corners allowing people to cut the corners, garbage can to runs over them, dogs to pee on them and still they thrvive.

On the side I share with no one, I plant food. I grow seasonally and organically. I planted squash last season, the blossoms were such a hit. I planted organic golden cherry tomatoes, but the weather was very weird this year and they have been slow to produce, but have produced. I had yerba buena/mint for many years, but it was took to much water from the tree so I took it out and am leaving it fallow.  I think the next plant will have to be a companion plant to the tree, something that will support my washington thorn. The sparrows love the fallow dirt.  If anyone knows about why the birds wallow in the dirt making little dirt holes, I would love to hear and the same goes for if you know a good companion food plant for my tree.

It’s interesting when you plant food on the street. It is not always clear to folks that it is free for the picking. Food is rarely free, even if it should be. I’ve seen people pause and wonder if it is for them. If it seems right, I yell down to the street and tell them to pick them if they want. I was so thrilled the other day when I hollered down to a youngish woman to go ahead and pick them.  She had paused to look at the tomatoes, I had hollered and she picked them all immediately.
Sometimes kids and even grown men in my neighborhood, who I know, have never seen a squash grow or a tomato bloom. That kills me. When I encounter such a person, there are many and they look all ways; I always explain how it grows and where to look for it at picking time and when picking time might be. I try and pick them something.
That man, that hadn’t seen food grow, that I shared with, is my neighbor, he’s part of my community and now I am part of his, just because we shared food. One of the Oldest of the Senora’s, my neighbor, has picked food, sat on the bench with me under the tree, etc. and just because of that her kids invited me to her Surprise Birthday Party. What an honor to get an invitation. I am so lucky, I really am. These are just some of the reasons I plant and work on the street level, it creates a sharing  community; people getting to know each other. It’s nice.



Posted August 22, 2011 by sarahdorrance in front yard garden, Thinking

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