• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Ash Jackson
  • thomas rubino
  • Carla Burke

A little story about ultra-urban gardening woes

 
gardener
Posts: 781
Location: Soutwest Ohio
201
homeschooling forest garden foraging rabbit tiny house books food preservation cooking writing woodworking homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last year I did a little container gardening with mixed success. My apartment doesn't have a porch or much direct sunlight, so you can imagine how well it went overall. The one pot I did outside ran into problems thanks to the heat of the pavement and the heavy poison spraying that the owners do on the far side of the lot.

This year I checked with the landlord about keeping them in the entryway. Said entryway is a desert of pavement that leads into the parking lot. No bare earth anywhere. Still, containers bring their own soil to the party and it seemed like it could work even with the increased thermal inertia of the pavement and the limited sun angle. It had a slightly sheltered space to keep the poison from drifting to them even.

So it was that I and the kids planted out several containers in the limited space and allowed the seeds to grow. Everything was going well in fact. The leaf lettuce was getting large enough we could start cutting some soon, the peas were starting to climb the small mesh fence that protected the building's AC units, the radishes were nearly ready to harvest and had begun to plump. All in all, a success. About a week from when we would have started harvesting from the containers, I came down to find the entire set of containers completely devoid of life. Not eaten, just gone. Ripped up roots and all and then leveled out again.

Stolen? No. I found the withered plans in the trash bin with a larger pile of weeds. My children were heartbroken and I was without the small bit of produce we'd managed to grow. Some checking uncovered the strange truth. It wasn't vandalism as I had initially though. It was, in fact, the next door neighbor. He does lot maintenance for the landlord, fixing things and keeping the property in shape. He's the one spraying poison on the far end of the lot to keep it acceptable in the eyes of the city. Turns out he was doing weeding around the edges of the pavement where things had sprung up in cracks. For reasons I still can't fathom, he assumed anything green at all was a weed and pulled the plants out of my pot right along with the rest of his work.

That he didn't recognize the plants didn't shock me. Lots of city dwellers seem to have no idea what plants are what. That he would 'weed' a plant pot down to the dirt however was beyond my comprehension. Who does that? Like, who walks up to someone else's potted plant and thinks that ripping it out and leveling the dirt is what is needed there? It was incredibly frustrating. I wasn't relying on those for food since they were so limited and I did still have our CSA, but the kids were loving the chance to grow something that was thriving in spite of the severe limitations of our location and having it torn away (literally) was absolutely devastating for them.

He aplogized. (Sort of anyway. He kept saying how I should have told him those were something I was growing, as if somehow it was my fault for assuming any person alive would have known not to rip the plants out of someone else's pots.) The damage was done though. We attempted to do some things that wouldn't take long to grow, mostly radishes, but by then there were several active animals in full food-search mode and a cat who decided all that bare earth was the right place to do its business. The cat dug out half while the other animals nibbled anything that got more than a half inch out of the soil. Total loss for the year.

I was looking at the empty containers today and realized I'd never said anything here until now. Not really anything to do or say about it now. Just kind of baffled that it ever happened at all.
 
master steward
Posts: 13464
Location: Pacific Northwest
6072
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When we were renting in the city, our landlord came to work on the siding, and had his workers throw our potted plants--pots and all!--into the dumpster, as well as beautiful green/blue/purple/pink lava rocks we'd picked up driving across the country.

The hydrangea--which was actually from our wedding, in a nice purple pot my husband had bought me when we were dating--was put in the dumpster because they looked "dead." That was the only appology we got from our landlord. It was WINTER! Of course, this all happened while we were at work, and my husband had to dig through the dumpster. The pot was already taken home by one of the workers, but my husband managed to save the hydrangea.

Sometimes I feel like complaining about all the home maintenance on our place and the cost of it all. Remembering this really helps me be thankful for what I have!

I am so sorry, D, about your landlord. It is SO FRUSTRATING being in that situation. You feel so vulnerable and helpless.
 
gardener
Posts: 6649
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1302
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Both these stories must be why in the south we just shake our heads and utter "bless their heart".
And folks wonder why I don't like being close to humans who constantly are performing "stupid human tricks".

Nicole, I would have hired a lawyer and sued the landlord, I might not have won but he would have gotten the first part of my message, the second part would have been my moving with no notice.

D. Logan, I can't even begin to say what I would have probably done to the neighbor and landlord.
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 13464
Location: Pacific Northwest
6072
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When we were moving to our new house, those landlords tried to charge us $600 for the mold in the rental (the rental that there were no exhaust vents and the windows were painted shut), and they refused to even talk to us about the fine. We sent them a letter by certified mail mentioning not just how they'd tossed our plants away, but also painted the windows shut and buried a barrel of oil in the yard...

Needless to say, they never asked again for the money...or talked to us again.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 781
Location: Soutwest Ohio
201
homeschooling forest garden foraging rabbit tiny house books food preservation cooking writing woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:When we were renting in the city, our landlord came to work on the siding, and had his workers throw our potted plants--pots and all!--into the dumpster, as well as beautiful green/blue/purple/pink lava rocks we'd picked up driving across the country.

The hydrangea--which was actually from our wedding, in a nice purple pot my husband had bought me when we were dating--was put in the dumpster because they looked "dead." That was the only appology we got from our landlord. It was WINTER! Of course, this all happened while we were at work, and my husband had to dig through the dumpster. The pot was already taken home by one of the workers, but my husband managed to save the hydrangea.

Sometimes I feel like complaining about all the home maintenance on our place and the cost of it all. Remembering this really helps me be thankful for what I have!

I am so sorry, D, about your landlord. It is SO FRUSTRATING being in that situation. You feel so vulnerable and helpless.



I seriously don't understand what is up with some people in the cities. If it had just been some plant randomly in the yard, maybe, but if it is in a pot, clearly someone is growing it. At the very least just check. If they're worried you have a dead eyesore, then a warning should be given. Not throw everything away and give your property to the workers.
 
gardener
Posts: 384
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
234
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, man, do I feel you all!!!

When I was in university I lived in a 3 apartment building (one apartment on each floor). I had put a large cactus and succulent planter in the window on the stairs, as we were on the top floor. Went to school one day. No planter. I left a note on the door asking the other tenants if they knew what had happened to my plants (one of them had had a loud alcohol-fueled party the night before, and I assumed one of her guests had absconded with it as it was very pretty and decorative). Nope. My landlord knocked it over, threw it out, and didn't even tell me about it. I could have rescued all of my plants, the decorative fossils in it, and the carved stone statue in it, but the garbage had already been taken out. Did he think I would just not notice that it was gone? The same landlord had given my housemate permission to plant the front garden with flowers, then, come September, replaced windows and dropped the huge windows on top of them and trampled all through her carefully tended (and quite pricey) perennials. ARRRGHHHH!

As for people in cities and their cluelessness about what food plants look like. Don't even get me started... I remember as a child harvesting saskatoon berries on public trails and the horror of people who were convinced I was eating some sort of poison. "But how do you tell them apart?!" they always argued.... Umm, well, they look like, taste like, have leaves like, and are shaped like saskatoon berries. I even had someone do that a few times when I was picking raspberries. How do you NOT tell them apart from something else? I love going to garden centres with friends and playing the parlour trick where I tell people what (usually very common) plant they are holding before they even look at the tag. "It's a tomato" "It's a rose" "It's a blueberry", "It's mint". = "How do you KNOW that?"

I find it so weird to not have the knowledge about what I consider common plants, it's almost the same thing to me as not being able to read - the letters are there in plain site, but they've never been given the instruction manual on how to interpret the things they see in the environment around them. Leaves just looking like a lot of green, rather than having distinct and identifiable shapes and textures is a lot like me trying to read Chinese writing - it's a whole language, but to me it's just like a bunch of lines, and I don't see or remember seeing the patterns before, as they have no meaning to me.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1126
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
D, rocks and concrete ruble work pretty well to keep cats off.  
 
I think she's lovely. It's this tiny ad that called her crazy:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/t/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic