Why I can’t grow vegetables

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Why am I not allowed to grow produce?

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Crazy, isn’t it?

I live in a wonderful area in Florida. When the area was first settled, in 1893, the residents could leave their houses and pick food from the trees – grapes, mangoes, oranges and more were all growing wild.

When the new residents cultivated the area they found that many fruits and vegetables could be grown here successfully.

These included tomatoes (which formed the basis of our agricultural development), squash, strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, corn and many more.

Today, the variety of produce grown here commercially is incredible. And every week we spend a fortune on locally-grown,organic produce.

Isn’t there something a little wrong here?

With such a wonderful climate and a garden, what’s to stop us growing produce ourselves? The answer is simple.

The condo board.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to step outside the door and pick a few juicy tomatoes for a salad? Or a handful of strawberries for dessert? A fresh lemon, a juicy mango, a couple of artichokes?

I’m not talking here about turning over the grounds to become a farm; just a few plants that would create fresh and wholesome food for all our residents.

But no.

This is a small complex – just eleven apartments – so the grounds aren’t huge. But I suggested a couple of raised beds where we could grow a few cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, some herbs, maybe  scallions and garlic … but no. How about a vine for fresh grapes? No.  A few tomato plants and maybe a patch of artichokes? A dwarf lemon tree? No, no, no.

It’s not as if our garden is wonderfully manicured anyway. The addition of fruit and vegetables would enhance its appearance, not spoil it. And it would definitely enhance our quality of life. I have resorted to a little ‘stealth planting’ but that’s not quite the same, is it?

Who would look after the garden? Well, as the person who suggested it, I would . I’d want to make it succeed. So there are no labour costs.

Urban produce gardens are springing up everywhere, from rooftops to medians. Waste ground in cities is being used to grow vegetables, manned by volunteers. We are advised to ‘grow our own’.  We want produce that has no chemicals and is totally fresh.

We have the land. We have the labour. We (well, I) have the enthusiasm.

But no.

 


 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

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Author: Jackie Jackson

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3 Comments

  1. I thought this was going to be an article about your gardening disasters and an inability to make things grow, or perhaps the other half barring you from growing veg as you always grow too much and are inundated with produce you can’t ever hope to use/give away/store, but to not be allowed to for some silly ‘housing’ reason seems – well, silly! I don’t suppose you have a balcony you can sneak the odd pot on to do you…?

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  2. Every time I see a story like this I feel sad. Our culture is so turned around from where it could be.

    I do hope that, over time, you can enlist enough other residents to support you in your quest that, together, you can convince the condo board of the advantages of home-grown food to all who live there.

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  3. Jackie don’t give up, keep plugging away at them. I would suggest that you offer the produce for sale to the residents at reduced costs and use the proceeds to purchase some lounge seating in the courtyard. Maybe if the people had some ownership it would make the foray into vegetable gardening better? Just a thought!

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