A Salad Worth Fighting For
The above photo is the first (mostly) complete meal I've made from my front-yard garden this season. I say mostly complete because not everything in it was from the garden. Being early in the season (and the fact that I got a late start), the garden has a small amount of a lot of different vegetables that are ready. But lettuce right now is the most abundant, unfortunately the tomatoes are still green. Besides the lettuce, I was also able to pick a couple florets of broccoli, some green beans, 1 teeny cucumber, a miniscule sweet pepper, green onions, and a bunch of herbs. I also added (not from the garden) a sliced apple, some cheese, and a few whole wheat croutons. I tossed the salad with a simple vinaigrette and ate it on my front porch just a few feet from where most everything grew. The salad was delicious and the ingredients were still warm from the sun. But while I ate I couldn't help but think of Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan. I don't know Ms. Bass, nor have I been to Oak Park; what I was thinking about specifically was the newspaper stories that have been circulating the Internet regarding her front-yard vegetable garden. I first came across the story here, but here is another version . It is, apparently, illegal to grow vegetables in your front lawn in Oak Park (click here to go to a blog regarding this story and issue); it has, in fact, only been a couple years since it is deemed "suitable" to do the same in Buffalo, the city from which I type these words. I remember hearing of a couple gardeners a few years back getting fined and forced to remove their vegetables from their front yards. With Julie Bass it's even worse...she may be arrested and face 93 days in jail. What? Have you ever heard of such an asinine thing? In an age when eating local is a very serious issue, this is what is determined. What's more, if you look at the pictures of her garden it is neat and orderly (far neater than my garden)...it is far from an eye sore. With all the publicity this has generated my hunch is that the "charges" will be dropped or lessened. And I don't know what Ms. Bass' plans are but if it were me I would stand my ground (yes I am aware of the overt pun) and choose the jail time and refuse to dig up my vegetables. And this is what I thought about as I ate and enjoyed my salad as I gazed out at my teeny patch of dirt where they are still growing. As aforementioned, the salad was delicious, really delicious. Maybe it was where I was eating or what I was thinking about--maybe it was simply that I was sitting in the shade on a hot and sunny day on the last day of my vacation--but I also thought that this salad was most definitely worth fighting for.
Below are a few pictures I took this afternoon (click it for a larger view). To see a garden plan of what I grew last year, and how much can be grown in such a small area, click here. When I was a kid my mom, who came of age during WWII, referred to vegetable gardens as Victory Gardens. For a variety of reasons this term seems as appropriate today as it did then. Click here to see images regarding Victory Gardens. Click here to go home.
We actually need to quickly expand our veggies. We are soon going to have a huge batch of green zebra tomatoes, arugula, basil, cilantro, and my pride and joy, the heirloom tomato plant that I grew from the seeds of a tomato from last year. Actually grew it all fall/winter/spring in a cup by the sink window, then transplanted it in late spring. Just starting to show fruit!
We also have a raspberry bush that has been pretty productive, and is on it's next set of canes(?), which are showing an even greater fruit growth. Really an interesting plant.
Joe, have you ever seen the old (70's) BBC comedy, "The Good Life"? The Julie Bass story reminded me of it. You might get a laugh out of it. It's evidently all on Youtube now. Here's the first episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyZ--z8RpOI
Our garden is in our back yard but we were thrilled to see our new neighbors across the street putting theirs in the front. We find it much more "suitable" than the weeds that grew there previously. The Bass Family has our sympathy. Such a shame.