Many urban gardeners find themselves locked into restrictive Homeowner’s Association rules. Some city planners have criminalized gardening!
I ran afoul of my condo association back in the day, even though my garden was created before the association passed rules against it. Click here to see if you think this green space was worthy of hundreds of dollars in penalty fees.
This Canadian family built an incredibly beautiful and well-maintained vegetable garden on land they own, only to face $300 a day in penalties from their city council. The city requires that all urban green spaces be 70% grass. That is the dumbest rule I ever heard.
Human beings criminalized for performing acts of self sufficiency.
What happened to the Victory Garden?
Once upon a time, we were encouraged to produce our own goods to cut down on our consumption of vital resources. And in this economy, a Victory Garden is good for your wallet as well as good for the environment. Why would any city council encourage people to grow grass instead of lush vegetables, when grass lawns are bad for the environment?
Home grown food is healthier and better for the world. Gardening encourages biodiversity. Did you know most of the vegetables you get in the grocery are not grown for taste or nutritional value, but for their ability to withstand damage in transit and storage? Food gardening is far less of a strain on resources than trucking in tons of vegetables from foreign countries that can just as easily be grown in your back yard, with no more thought or difficulty than growing grass!
Here are five extremely beautiful plants that you can grow in your yard. Your neighbors will never know you eat them, and you will save some bucks at the grocery. No one will be reporting you to your city council for the crime of producing your own food.
The Yo Mack Daddy of uber-fabulous showy garden plants is Amaranth. It comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, most of them sold and marketed solely as a decorative plant. But it is an extremely tasty, highly nutritious native American plant that has been cultivated for 8000 years! Several varieties are common in Asian cooking, but most North Americans don’t even know it’s edible.
Love Lies Bleeding is often found in garden catalogues. It’s an absolutely stunning plant! Yummy and pretty!
The leaves of Amaranth taste like Swiss Chard or spinach, and the seeds are an ancient Aztec gluten free grain. A 16 ounce bag of organic Amaranth seed grain sells in the food store for almost seven bucks. Or, you can grow your own Golden Giant Amaranth plant, and harvest a good 1 pound of seed per plant!
A variety of Amaranth called Calaloo is a common ingredient in Caribbean cooking. Josephs’ Coat, shown below, was grown at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson.