Food Not Lawns: A Suburban Revolution

We never planned on buying a house in a subdivision. Our fist home in North Carolina was on an acre, with blueberry bushes, a set of serious fig trees and one of those ornamental cherries that sheds a downy fluff of pink silk.

Here in Pennsylvania we have two acres perfectly composed of edibles and ornamentals, old growth shade trees, a smattering of pine and grass that looks imported from Ireland. Aside from mowing, everything is pretty low maintanence.

Our Florida house, however, will be in a subdivision. We never desired to live anywhere near a subdivision, yet alone actually in one. But strangely, we are not dreading it. It is what it is. A house sandwhiched between two other houses with a house across from it and a house behind it. Sigh.

One thing I am looking forward to, however, is the gardening potential. If everything goes forward without any last minute surprises, we will be living in a house on a half acre plot, which isn’t too shabby for a subdivision. The land has pretty much nothing planted on it–so I get to figure it all out myself.

I know our gardens will be a process; we do not have the money to plant everything at once. But at least it will be our process. In North Carolina we had to live with azaleas which alternated white-red-white-hot pink-white-red-white. Why? It was ugly. But of course, we weren’t going to go ahead and rip out (and kill!) perfectly good plants just because they didn’t suit our personal taste.

Although I have not read the book and have no intention of reading the book, I am feeling inspired, nonetheless, by the title of the book: Food Not Lawns. Eager to plant mostly edibles (including flowers, of course), I am looking forward to transforming our sandy, Florida lot into a raised bed buffet.

On the Food Not Lawns site there is an inspiring essay about the glories of transforming your lawn into something a little more useful.

Actually, in North Carolina we had a neighbor who’s front part of his property was all raised beds and sour cherry trees. Joe even left a ladder out under the trees when the cherries were ripe so anyone on Palmers Grove Church Road could come and pick at will. He had fencing up around his beds to keep the rabbit and deer out, but all humans were welcome. You can’t be stingy when you put your wealth right out in the open like that. Joe wasn’t. And he didn’t even live in a subdivision.


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