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Local Councils and veggie verge planting

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  • #255449
    mudhenmudhen
    Member

    I have read the couple of threads that Len (I think) has started on this topic with news from the US that was all negative, but I know that there are some progressive councils out there in Oz that are encouraging sustainable communities, including the wider use of the verge area outside your fenced yard for vegetable growing. I’m certain that the Freemantle Council in WA had awards for the best verge veggie patch at some stage. My local council is taking part in the OPAL program: http://www.opal.sa.gov.au and I’ve written to my local co-ordinator suggesting that encouraging people to use all available space to grow veggies and fruit trees will help to bring about the outcomes that the program is aiming for, and perhaps the council needs to re-think it’s existing stance (negative) on vegetable verge plantings.

    Where is your local council placed on this issue? If you are in the country with a big block it probably isn’t an issue, but for those of us who have to live in towns and cities with very little garden space available, it seems to me that the more we raise awareness at local government level, the more we buffer ourselves against the foolishness that we’ve seen taking place in the US recently.

    #502639
    AnjaAnja
    Member

    Very interesting idea Mudhen. I wonder if people are worried about vandals and thieves?

    No point me looking into it unfortunately, my DH likes a bit of lawn and will not even think about planting anything else there 🙁

    #502640
    IdunaIduna
    Member

    I was thinking of planting some herbs, sunflowers, flowers for bees and a pomegranate on mine but my council poison mine every time they go past and I’m worried I’ll work hard and put the money into it to make it pretty and have them come along and kill it with their ride on poison cart.

    #502641

    Hi mudhen, I’m in Brisbane and unfortunately we’re not allowed to plant anything :angry: It doesn’t stop some people though, and I haven’t heard of council getting upset or fining anyone. I guess they can pull up the garden if they want to and I’ve heard of them doing it with trees. Something unobstrusive and a groundcover might be ok – eg sweet potato (I know Jeremy Coleby-Williams did this), or herbs. I’m hoping they’ll come around to the idea some time soon.

    #502642
    mudhenmudhen
    Member

    lol Anja, my husband is dearly attached the the tiny square of lawn we have out the front. It’s the perfect spot for a deciduous fruit tree, but he won’t have a bar of it. I did manage to plant a gorgeous mango in the front yard of our Townsville house many years ago, and it was a delight to go back some years later and see that it was still there and looking healthy.

    Iduna, it might be worth contacting your council to see if they have a “do not spray” register. Bel mentioned this a few weeks ago and I finally got around to signing up today. She said they come and spray paint your kerb green so the council workers know you’re on the register.

    Vanessa, my council didn’t say I wasn’t allowed, just that they didn’t support it, so I’ve gone ahead anyway. Sweet potato is a great idea, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for plants that aren’t so obvious that people going past would be tempted by so much. I figure I’ll start with a few root vegetables in front and some Jerusalem Artichokes along the fence and see how we go from there. I have more space outside the fence for planting than I do within the yard, and it gets full sun year round, so is an ideal spot for most things. I’ve planted a herb garden already which I’m really pleased with.

    Continuing to dialogue with the council at every opportunity, even if it’s only an email to your local member every once in a while will hopefully begin to raise the general conciousness about these things.

    #502643
    SonyaSonya
    Member

    I was invited by the Byron Shire Council to do a presentation on transition towns just this week and I snapped some photos of this little edible garden just outside the council chambers… they also have an awesome community garden happening there in Mullumbimby too.

    cheers,

    Sonya

    Attached files

    #502644
    SonyaSonya
    Member

    the 2011 permaculture diary has a couple of stories about ‘veggie on the verge’ – Michael Mobbs in Chippendale (which featured on Landline) http://www.sustainablehouse.com.au and also another family in Marrickville who are doing it.

    Sonya

    #502645
    KristyKristy
    Member

    Living in a little country town I have a huge council verge (although not everyone does have one as wide as mine), and it currenlty growing weeds really well. I have been thinking what I can plant there too as it is in full sun all day, but wasn’t sure if I am allowed. The other issue is I came home the other night to find a huge ditch had been dug for a power cable to be run through I think, so could be a pain if I had of planted something there…

    I’ll be keeping my eye on this thread for suggestions. I like the sweet potato idea…

    #502646
    BelBel
    Member

    Now that I’m on the ‘No Spray Register’, part of my responsibility is to weed/maintain the verge area. To my mind, that gives me licence to plant whatever I like as long as I look after it. I’m thinking about pulling up the grass and planting some flowering herbs to attract bees. Artichokes would also be quite striking and would serve as a prickly barrier to would-be thieves! DH is going to grow giant pumpkins in our front yard this year to try to create a bit of local interest in the garden and encourage more people to grow their own veg.

    #502647
    KristyKristy
    Member

    Love the giant pumpkin idea Bel… I might contact my council and see what they say, but don’t think that they will care.

    You are doing a great thing for you area Bel 🙂

    #502648
    BelBel
    Member

    Kristy post=319186 wrote: Love the giant pumpkin idea Bel… I might contact my council and see what they say, but don’t think that they will care.

    You are doing a great thing for you area Bel 🙂

    Aw shucks. Thanks Kristy. It sometimes feels like we’re pushing excrement uphill trying to change peoples’ minds from immaculate gardens to productive ones. Occasionally though I bump into someone in the area who says they have noticed our garden and are now growing a few things in their own back yard. That’s what it’s all about really.

    Dad told me the other day that he’s got apricot seedlings coming up under his tree. I might pop one out in the big corner council verge and see how it goes. Even if something were to happen to it, at least it was free in the first place. DH massacred (sorry, pruned) the ornamental pear on the council verge the other day – said he didn’t want it casting a shadow on the productive fruit trees in our own front yard! :laugh:

    #502649
    mudhenmudhen
    Member

    lol Bel, I was out weeding mine yesterday after I signed up for the “no spray” register. This morning I looked out and the council workers were out there spray painting the green spots on my kerb already! I was pretty impressed! With rain over the next few days I’m hoping to get moving on the second patch I’d like to get ready for spring / summer planting. If I can get the worst of the weeds out, I can spread some green manure seeds to make a start.

    Kirsty you are spot on about the amazing things Bel and her family are doing. I love visiting her place!

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