Archive for June, 2009


I haven’t heard back from the Homeowners Association on my appeal to keep my garden… so it remains for now. And the plants are growing like crazy!! Mike and I have already used the mint, chives, and basil for cooking. Tonight I was able to pick a veritable bounty of green beans to cook with dinner! I have never had vegetable so fresh… yum!!



Baby (Green) Tomatoes!



Baby peppers… can you see them taking form?



My green beans are HUGE!



Mike found something out today: cilantro should NOT grow in full (hot) sun, or it will shoot up too fast and only produce the seed, which is coriander. See how ours has shot up? We like coriander alright, but we really wanted cilantro. Lesson learned. We’ll harvest some coriander seeds, use some for cooking, and use the other to plant more cilantro and try, try again – in partial sun this time!



My harvest of green beans for tonight’s dinner!

IMG_5847I also figured out how to make my pictures larger without them running off the page… hooray!



Look at the amount of green beans I picked! And I left a lot on the plant – we’ll have to have green beans with dinner another night soon so that I can keep up with the growth. This is awesome!


And, if anyone is interested in my garden appeal letter, here it is:

Re:  Architecture Violation at [I’m not dumb enough to publish my address online

Dear Ms. [Name]:


I recently received a letter stating that the vegetables on our front stoop are in violation of Section V.D.8 of the Architectural Control Guideline, per the following excerpt: “Planting vegetables or fruit must be within homeowners’ fence lines. Planting vegetables or fruit in the front yard and visible side yard is prohibited.”


My husband and I are both very grateful to the Homeowners Association for their dedication to maintaining a safe, welcoming, and beautiful community. Part of what drew us to our townhouse last August was the community feel of this neighborhood, and the aesthetically pleasing environment that you have worked so hard to build.


We respect your request for us to resolve the violation per your letter, and we apologize that our plants have violated this rule; please understand that we did not know about the rule and did not intentionally violate it. I appreciate the motivation behind your bylaws; you are committed to maintaining a groomed appearance throughout the community, and this requires that you enforce rules that support aesthetic appeal and architectural standards. My husband and I, too, are committed to maintaining an attractive community appearance.


My husband and I moved here in August 2008, from Florida. The transition has been especially difficult for me as I left my family, friends, and the only weather I’ve ever experienced. My first winter and these past 10 months have been a trying time for me, and I’ve been encouraged when I find small activities that make this city feel more like home. My “porch garden,” as I have affectionately named it, has been a peaceful retreat for me and has accomplished this homelike feel. It has provided me a quiet place to rest, a source of pride in the plants’ growth, and a sense of ownership as I have cared for my plants daily. I was excited to see them grow into healthy, full bodied plants that add a certain earthiness to my home (and flavor to my meals!). I have taken much comfort in my herbs and vegetables, often lingering on my front steps when leaving the house or coming home. Last night, my husband and I sat on the porch among the plants, sipped iced tea, and quietly enjoyed our pretty neighborhood and the beautiful Spring weather.


With respect, I would like to suggest a compromise. It is my understanding, based on your letter, that the biggest point of contention is that we have cages in some of the potted plants (e.g., our tomato plants). I imagine the spirit behind this objection is that the cages are unsightly, and I understand this concern. Until the plants creep fully up and over the cages to completely hide them, the cages, when noticed, do not add to the visual appeal of fresh herbs and vegetables on the porch.


I know that we have the option to move our plants to the fenced backyard, however, this solution would require quite a bit of handyman work or an extraneous purchase, as our dog uses the backyard to relieve himself, and we certainly do not want our vegetables exposed to that! The solution would require a tall shelf or table on which the plants would sit, high off the ground and away from the dog. While we are willing to make that adjustment, if necessary, we would prefer the following compromise. May we simply remove the cages from the plants in front and be allowed to keep the un-caged potted plants for the remainder of the growth season? We would be conscientious about removing the vegetables from the porch at the end of their season, before they die or become unsightly. This extension of mercy would be a huge blessing to my husband and me, but especially to me as I would not lose my porch retreat! 


I understand that extending this compromise to me may cause problems if other neighbors request exceptions for similar issues or other issues. However, I believe I have a solution which benefits both you and me! The bylaw states: “Planting vegetables…in the front yard and visible side yard is prohibited.” Therefore, it is prohibited to plant vegetables in the yard. Since ours are not planted in the yard, but rather potted on the porch, perhaps this technicality would offer you a loophole in order to support a compromise with me, and serve me by allowing the compromise to take place!


Ultimately, my husband and I will respect whatever decision you make. I simply appreciate your time and consideration to my appeal… [Conclusion Stuff, etc…]