Mh july 2012


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Mh july 2012

  1. 1. Not that long ago, milkmen delivered locally-grown dairy products to our doorsteps. The milk, eggs, and other foods we ate probably came from farms close to home. Nowadays, our food usually comes from far distant factory farms. What happened? And why is impossible to buy a tasty peach?Suburban Sprawl? In the 50’s and 60’s, people migrated from cities intosubdivisions in rural areas. Productive farmland gave way to housing andshopping malls. To pay for new roads, schools, and other services for thesuburbanites, property taxes rose so high that dairies and family farms wentbankrupt or sold their land to developers. Ironically, the same people whoparticipated in suburban sprawl now miss the availability of local food. Today, many neighborhoods, especially in Homeowner Associations (HOAs), forbid agricultural activities in or near their residential zones. No pig farms, please! In fact, just try to grow tomatoes in a typical HOA. No way! The only permitted plants are velvety-green lawns and botanical bric-a- brac, such as the ubiquitous crepe myrtle & other non- edible, non-native plants. 1
  2. 2. Only mow where we often go:the parking area, walkways to thesmall gardens and barn. Lesstraveled land will be mowedonce a year, as botany guruCharles Allen recommends.Mowing actually spreadsunwanted Bahia and Johnsongrasses by flinging their seedsonto ground where we wantbroomsedge to grow.Only grow edible and nativeplants (especially perennialedible natives like maypops,which are ripening on trellises).Lots of flowers, every month ifpossible.Lots of B’s:Birds, Butterflies, Bumblebees andother Beneficial Wildlife.Avoid chemicals and gas-powered equipment as much aspossible; increase use ofcardboard and plastic sheetmulches to kill weeds; pine strawtop mulch, NEVER cypress mulch.Personalized, natural-looking,no straight lines or rows of thesame plant, never standardized,never generic. 2
  3. 3. Plum, our Catahoula cur, is smart enough enough to stay out of the sun on hot ol’ summer days. We agree with her that it’s pleasanter to walk in shady woods, where the ground isalways carpeted with leaf litterand shade loving plants like the evergreen Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) and low-growing Basketgrass(Oplismenus hirtellus,subspecies setarius). We frequently hear that people prefer lawns because they’re afraid of “snakes in the grass.” A water snake ate several koi in the small ponds in our front yard this month. LJ killed it with a hoe. There were too many fish, anyhow, and they keep making babies. 3
  4. 4. Grow flowers __not lawns! Maypop Hill Nursery & PublicationsBetty and LJ Miley, specializing in native plants & sustainable land use web: email: 4