Will I go to jail because I have a garden?

Jul 14, 2011 by

There is a story that has been going around the past few days of  a Michigan woman is looking at spending 93 days in jail because she planted vegetables in her front yard.  Yeah, that’s happening.

The town ordinance says that front yards have to be planted with “suitable, live, plant material.” and they are now spending time and money arguing over what “suitable” means.  Really?

The city planners say that her garden doesn’t count. “If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common,”

I love when people have to bring out the dictionary to argue.  I agree with the statement in the Consumerist, that all of her other neighbors should plant gardens, so that now the un-common thing would be a lawn.

IMG_8013 I love my garden.  I planted it in the front yard for a reason.  First, I was so tired of my front lawn and constantly fighting off gophers and broken sprinkler systems.  Second, I wanted it to be a point of talk, thought, or inspiration for others to do something different.   I could have planted it in my backyard, and still plan to plant some things back there, but I really wanted to have it in my front yard, and so far EVERYONE in my neighborhood loves it.

I have not yet heard anyone complain about it yet, and its not just because I’m constantly bribing giving them tons of vegetables.

This whole things feels like an incredible waste of time and money and this women should be applauded with her choice not dragged through this mess.  This story has become very popular on the internet, so I’m hoping the righteous outcry of people will help throw this case out and get more gardens planted.

Speaking of gardens… Here’s an update on my garden.   I have so much great stuff growing now…


I let a few artichokes flower so I could take a picture.  They are so beautiful when they bloom.


Also got a few little baby watermelons starting up


and one decent sized one already


snap peas back again!  I love these the most, so I just eat them when I garden


Also got some beans and the cucumber started climbing the strings too.


I only planted one single cucumber plant, but it has taken over that garden box and I have at least a dozen cucumbers ready to pick now and I’ve been eating them like crazy.


Still got a lot of corn growing.  I already picked some thinking it was ready.  It was not.  Going to let these cook a little more.


bought these strawberry plants at the farmers market, and they are also taking over and making THE best tasting strawberry I’ve ever had.   It tastes like heaven on a warm summer day.


yes, here are those cucumbers that are taking over


pepper plants have gone nuts too and I have a lot of peppers ready


Planted my first crop of turnips.   I’m excited to eat these.


Basil is coming back too.  I love having fresh basil to cook with.  Very excited about this


and just found these guys today.   Happy to see my bell peppers back.


Still got a couple artichokes going strong too and more growing


and a little baby eggplant is starting


and yes, here are the zucchini.  I have so many zucchini.  So so many zucchini.  I’m giving this away like crazy.  The entire hospital where my wife works, has many zucchini as I am supplying them now.  These things are huge, but they taste great, so that’s good.


and that mystery plant that was in my garden… want to guess what it is now?  Yep, it WAS a sunflower as correctly stated by Michael Cook in the comments of this post.

So thats my garden update.  I hope I don’t have to go to jail over it.


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  • Solange Randolph

    i love seeing the pictures of your garden. truly inspiring for someone like me who’s been talking about planting one for the last 2 years.

  • http://ifwerantheworld.com Jason

    I saw that news article.  I thought there was another one in LA too with the same kind of things happening?  I want to come see your garden because I have questions.  We finally got ours started but I have no idea how close I can plant things etc.  And our tomatoes are having something weird happen to them….

  • Janegoodhue

    I sure enjoyed this pictoral journey through your garden. It was so fun seeing some of these plants close up when I was there visiting, and I knew the mystery plant was a sunflower first!!

  • Janegoodhue

    I sure enjoyed this pictoral journey through your garden. It was so fun seeing some of these plants close up when I was there visiting, and I knew the mystery plant was a sunflower first!!