Monday, February 10, 2014


Vacant Lot on Main St. 
Still another snowstorm last night, more really cold temperatures today and tomorrow, and more snow and sleet expected later this week. So what am I doing? What all gardeners do this time of year. I'm closing my eyes, imagining warm weather and a yard with herbs, lettuce, beans, tomato and pepper plants, and of course, flowers, where right now there's only snow and ice. Mostly I'm thinking about seeds, because I'll need to start planting them indoors in the next few weeks.

This is a great time to start thinking about how green we want Norristown to be this coming season. We've got ugly vacant lots where we could plant low maintenance greenery, perennial flowers, bulbs. Until those lots are developed, there's no law that they have to look bad. Even a seed packet of wildflowers, strewn in certain spots, would improve the look of our town, and by doing so, the attitudes and outlook of our residents. What's better, the vacant lot above, or this version below?

Same vacant lot with greenery added

Here's a link to a video that explains how the South Bronx is using gardens to create "green graffiti" to change the look of their depressed landscape. If they can do it, so can we.

We have a lot of gardeners in town who'd be willing to help interested residents put little veggie gardens in their yards. Our food desert here has gotten better in recent years, with small groceries and farmer's markets springing up, but growing food in your back yard is a great way to keep your family healthy and teach your kids about food. Once your garden is established, it's also the cheapest way. Seeds don't cost much. And gardens makes our neighborhoods look better.

All you need is a sunny spot--you can start small, say 4x4 feet--some soil amenities like peat moss and compost (because we've got hard clay soil here that has to be loosened up before anything will grow), and someone who can wield a shovel (maybe our volunteer groups and church groups could help). If there are animals in your household or neighborhood, you might need fencing, but it doesn't have to be expensive.

I'd be willing to plant extra seeds indoors and share plants and plant cuttings with anyone who wants to start a garden. I'll come help you plant. I'm guessing some of the other gardeners I know would do the same.

So there are your seeds of thought for today. Forget the snow and ice for a while. Now's the time to start planning a green Norristown for the coming year.

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