Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Parking Strip Raised Bed Update July 25, 2009

A few months ago, I wrote a post about a row of raised beds that had suddenly appeared in the parking strip of a house on our route to school. If you have a spare second, click here to see the “before” photos.

The other day, I was back by that way and almost crashed the car when I saw the transformation that had taken place. I guess the question of whether raised beds with good soil assist in the growing of delicious veggies in a tough spot has now been definitively answered. Check it out!

Tomatoes and nasturtiums with a simple wood frame trellis:

Tomato trellis by stop sign

Carrots, lettuces and marigolds galore:

Carrots ahoy

Broccoli, chard and a bunch of squash that is going to have to colonize the sidewalk if it gets any bigger:

Summer street bounty

One bed left, maybe for fall veggies?

One bed left to fill

The narrow bed on the arterial, no raised planter box but things still look pretty happy:

Street veggies

The furry farmer, who came out to see what I was doing:

Inspection team

The Seattle Times had this article on the front page of its online edition today, discussing the newly relaxed rules for growing veggies in our city’s parking strips. The revolution is underway!


20 Responses to “Parking Strip Raised Bed Update”

  1. b kinch Says:

    Wow, what a truly amazing transformation! I read an article that ppl in PDX are growing mini-gardens and mini-community gardens in a wide variety of repurposed objects like shoe organizers and old shopping carts. A shoe organizer as arable land may be mostly for the sake of novelty or making a statement, but planting parking strips is just plain smart.

  2. Bonnie Story Says:

    I thought of you immediately when I read that article about parking strips in Seattle. They are finally catching on, yay! It’s a leap of faith to put your food out on the street (and nice gear too) and I worry about vandals – but I’m a worrier. Cute kitty there too.

  3. Grace Says:

    And why not when the garden is as tidy and beautiful as this one? Tear up the needy lawn already!! LOL

    This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when we think outside the box.

    The furry farmer looks like a friendly soul. He even blends with his surroundings.

  4. Kanak Says:

    Hi Karen, here I cannot imagine vegetables growing like that on parking strips! Everything looks so perfect there! Enjoyed going through your photos, as usual. The tomato trellis with nasturtiums…that’s lovely!

    Have a great day!

  5. I also thought of you directly when I read the article; such good thinking from these community people. Hopefully this really “catches fire” and there will be things growing everywhere, so much fun and so inspiring!

  6. Megan Says:

    I have to admit I had never considered raised beds before, but now I always notice them and think of you when I drive by them, and I’ve even got a spot in the yard that would perhaps be a happy home for one.

  7. Daphne Gould Says:

    That is a really nice use of the space. This year with it being so cold where we are, I could see being between the pavement would really help out with the warm weather crops. I wonder if there are any losses from the passersby eating the crops? I could imagine tomatoes disappearing when people just couldn’t help themselves.

  8. Jen Says:

    I worry that people would steal veggies. Is that a problem there? Maybe it’s just my New Yorker mentality. Then again there is a little herb garden on 92nd Street near where I work. Hundreds of people walk by it. There are geraniums sprinkled around. Honestly, I don’t think people know they’re edible. Sometimes with veggies you have to know where to look. If the squash aren’t visible you might not know there’s anything there to pick.

  9. Michelle Says:

    Years ago I had a veggie garden in the only available sunny spot – the front yard right by the street. I never had a problem with poaching or vandalism even though there was no fence or any protection from passersby. The street we lived on was a route for students getting to the local high shool. I did get lots of compliments!

    Personally, I don’t understand why people think that vegetable gardens are either unsightly or nuisances that should be kept out of sight. That parking strip vegetable garden is proof of the opposite! I think they also help to get to know your neighbors. People are far more likely to stop and talk to you about your vegetable garden than your lawn.

  10. Catherine Says:

    What a huge difference! I love that people are using their parking strips for growing veggies, it looks so pretty. My sister in West Seattle has a neighbor that is letting people grow veggies on her garden lot in the parking strips on both sides of the corner. It makes the whole street look better.

  11. Georgia Says:

    Thanks for the link to the Seattle Times article. I tweeted about it –

  12. Racquel Says:

    Wow it has really grown since you posted last. Looks like they did a great job of ammending the soil since everything is healthy & lush. 🙂

  13. Looks fabulous! I did watch an old man repeatedly rummage some tomatoes off a neighbors vine last fall, I mentioned it to them and they said he told them he was taking their tomatoes because they were just letting them rot on the vine, which is a sin in his book!

  14. I love see a barren area like a parking lot become transformed into a veggie garden. Kuddos to the people that did this! -Jackie

  15. Tatyana Says:

    It’s amazing! At least, something good is getting out from this economic situation.

  16. easygardener Says:

    I am constantly amazed when I see this kind of planting as the local authority is responsible for that piece of land in the UK. Raised beds and veggies…unbelievable 🙂

  17. Kristi Says:

    Wow, that’s really amazing. They must have the perfect light/temperature combination to go along with that good soil.

  18. tina Says:

    Good morning Karen, I hope things are beginning to cool off for you all up there. This transformation is remarkable. It’s great gardeners can grow veggies in the parking strips now.

    I read your other posts below too. So great to get together with your fellow bloggers! It sounds like you all have a lot of fun in your city. Have a great weekend!

  19. Matron Says:

    that is such brilliant news! I remember your post about the sidewalk garden. Do people just help themselves to the veggies? Any problems with vandalism? There is a movement here called ‘guerilla gardening’ when people go out at the dead of night and plant flowers and veggies in public spaces!

  20. Jane Says:

    Yay for urban guerilla gardening!
    It blows my mind that it can still be illegal. I suppose the concern is that people continue be able to get out of their almightly car when they park there, but jeeez….there ha to be room for compromise.
    I’d like to see all those laws repealed!

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