'City Council approved amendments to the City’s Unified Development Code in December that will, among other things, help the city’s urban gardeners and farmers. From 2016 onward, gardeners can grow food in most lots and sell produce right at their garden or farm.
Before December, urban gardeners operated in a legal gray zone in terms of where they were permitted to grow and sell produce. Many growers were uncertain about whether they could use spaces like alley-ways, restaurants, or rooftops in addition to backyards. Now, the city’s zoning matrix has a “residential market garden” as a permitted use by default for every zone.
Besides “residential market gardens,” the City created another use category called “urban farms.” These are for operations where the farmer doesn’t live on site and where enough crops are grown that they are sold in bulk off of the property. Urban farms are now permitted by default throughout the city except in locations zoned for single-family residential. In those areas, farmers will have to apply for a special use permit.'
San Antonio is finally moving into the latter part of the 20th century - they have also begun promoting grid tie solar power. My dad is the first person in his neighborhood to get solar panels on his house through this new program. He's also been talking about replacing his lawn with native plants, but I doubt he'll actually do it because of the expense and maintenance involved - he's 85 so not really up to a lot of yard work (though he does jog every day).
If I weren't growing vegetables in all my garden beds I would have a lot less work in my garden beds than in my lawn. My rose bed, which only has perennial herbs and one or two annuals a year only takes a little pruning and an occasional sprinkle of water. Below is how I've been building the garden beds in my front lawn. Half the lawn was too compacted for even weeds to grow and the other half had a mix of native prairie plants and St Augustine when I moved in. Now the entire yard is surrounded by garden beds with a combination of perennial flowers, fruittrees, and annual crops.
Lay a double layer of overlapping cardboard down, cover it with six to 12 inches of mulch (probably only feasible for most of us if we all stalk tree trimmers like my family) and then in six months to a year plant seedlings or small starter plants where you want them. Texas has a lot of long lived, long blooming, low water, insect and disease resistant native plants. Decorative gardening is much easier than food gardening.
Ask around and you can probably find starts for many plant for free. I always have an abundance of a white spring blooming iris that doesn't get water, fertilizer, or weeding except when I dig up the bed to thin them. They don't even need the thinning, but it helps keep the spring iris count up over 100. If you're familiar with frog fruit I'm trying to get it to spread as a beneficial insect lure, but I have a lot in my yard. Anyone near Cedar Park and looking for these, I'd be happy to dig up some starter plants. In the future my echinacea will probably be large enough to offer starts, but for now they're still pretty small. I think encouraging people to abandon water hogging lawns in Texas might count as a part of permaculture.
Unless you have someone willing to do the initial mulching for him, I do understand how it might still be too much to tackle at 85, Tyler. Sorry if I'm sounding a little pushy here.
I'm not going to try to influence him one way or the other on the native plantings. His lot has steep slopes front and back, which makes it a challenge if he chooses to remove the turf which is currently growing (with some irrigation). Right now I would prefer he leave it be. I'm not in a position to help him with transitioning to native plantings, and his yard care guy is not a very sharp tack, if you get my drift, so I don't know that he would be much help with implementing a native plant scheme.
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