Archive for the Gardening Category

My Little Side Project

Hey all!  So I know I have shared many things on gardening, but I wanted to share a project I have been working on and am very excited about.  I have recently launched a community garden here in Charlotte, NC.  I was volunteering with some folks one day who I found out through an off hand comment that they wanted a garden.  They were saying that they had always wanted one, but didn’t know how to go about doing it.  So after talking with them, I discovered they had 8 acres that they didn’t use!

Well 8 acres is a bit much for a brand new garden so we decided on 5000 square feet for the first year.  You can see the satellite photo above where we tilled up the land.

So from these humble beginnings we have progressed a long way!  We now have 20 gardeners, from all walks of life, religions, incomes, ethnicity etc.  Of the food we grow, approximately 10% is donated to food banks.  We have big plans for next year, but its been a great growing season so far.  Check out the latest photos from our garden.

Truck Farm

Covert Gardening

So I may have mentioned that I have been working on launching a community garden.  What is interesting is that most of the people who come to me to garden because their neighborhoods don’t allow gardens.  Yes, that’s right, the Home Owners Associations prohibit it.  Even when it is behind the house.  I know this isn’t the case in all or most of them, but it is beginning to become a trend (at least here in Charlotte, NC).  It is kinda scary how powerful HOA’s are becoming.  The rules for the neighborhood I regretfully live in, is about 75 pages for the core document (with additional sub documents).  To compound this issue, in North Carolina HOA’s are extremely powerful legally.

HOA’s can actually push someone into foreclosure!  They can impose leins on property, they have the right to fine and other major powers.  Now I am very much for an open forum among neighbors and having basic protections.  For example I don’t want abandoned cars on blocks laying around, I want the grass to be cut when needed and other types of rules.  But When I can’t have a 100 square foot vegetable garden located behind my house, where it isn’t visible from the street and it is kept neat and presentable;  that seems unreasonable.

This is something that many people come to the community garden for.  Because they want to have control of their food, but aren’t allowed to. So what do I have to do?  Well I have a covert garden where even my neighbors have a hard time seeing it, not to mention you can’t see it from the street.  When I wanted to expand I was forced to start a whole community garden for this purpose!

What is it like in your area?  Should this be something that is allowed?

A Distrubing Trend

Being that it is Tuesday and on Tuesday I talk about gardening I have a rather disturbing story to tell.  Last weekend I went to the farmers market to get veggies etcetera for this weeks meals.  I stopped off at my favorite hole-in-the-wall breakfast place and off I went.

I make my way down to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market, located off Yorkmount road in Charlotte NC.  I love this one, it one of the bigger farmers markets in the city and it is certainly the most popular.  As I walk around I see all shades of green.  Bok choy, asparagus, collard greens, beans and so on.

As I make my way down the rows, navigating the crowd I see out of the corner of my eye.  There it was, a vendor taking strawberries out of mass packed plastic containers and dumping them into these green cardboard buckets.  They then took these and placed them in their stall labeled “LOCAL NORTH CAROLINA PRODUCE”.

The way it is setup you can walk behind the stalls so I walked over and took a peek at these plastic containers.  “product of Mexico, packaged in the USA”.  Local washing is where you brand items as local produced when it is not.

As I walked around I found this to be the case for so many and not just strawberries, it was practically everything.  I found one guy who grew asparagus in his garden in Charlotte and I gladly handed him my four dollars.

I began to think about how this came to be or why this came to be.  I realized that smaller farmers simply cannot produce enough to meet the demands and the variety that people want.  This is why I think they have to buy mass produced items and sell them.  But I find that they lie and brand them as local is objectionable

What do you all think about this practice?   Do you see this at your local farmers market?

DIY Garden Project

Tonight I will be sharing a little project I have been working on for my garden.  Come check it out!

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