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Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

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Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 9/26/2010, 6:13 am

I'm afraid I have some bad news for my own October 1st update.

Some of you know that this spring, we built our SFG in our front yard. Well, our Homeowner's Association (HOA), in their infinite wisdom, has decided only now that this is not a good thing. We received from them yesterday a certified letter which contained a directive to get rid of the garden by the end of the month, or face a $10/day fine. Bad words, bad words.

I am an utter wreck.

Worse things have happened and it's not the end of the world, but I am angry and frustrated. Why could they not have said something back in May when the trellises first went up? All the yearly architectural review board asked us to do was clean up some construction debris from the trellis project, which we did immediately.

I'm also upset because my garden simply isn't done yet. The pole beans are just about done, yes. The lima beans are setting, but they really aren't quite filled out yet... they need another week or two, I think. Tomatoes are still blooming and growing, though getting a little peaked, I'm okay with picking the greenies and pulling them. My peppers are still coming in. I'm on my 4th harvest of chocolate hot peppers, and my direct-seeded peppers that I have been coddling along all year have finally set fruit but they are not ripe yet. I'd like to save those somehow, if I can. The rampicante squash is STILL growing and looks ready to duke it out with Father Winter himself, the silly thing. I'd guess it could last another month anyway, given the chance. I thought of trying to move part of it, but just a pipe dream I guess. My Cinderella pumpkin planted July 4th is blooming but will never have a chance to set fruit, unless I manage to transplant it into a pot somehow. Same thing for my watermelon, except removing it from the trellis will undoubtedly kill it. (And you don't need to tell me squash hate transplanting.)

I've thought about legal action, but I can't handle that kind of stress right now. We will try to move operations into the backyard next year. I don't hold out a lot of hope for it, there is a LOT of shade back there, but I'll try. The front yard will be more flowers -- a great chance to plant even more of Nancy's milkweed! -- and I'm sure I can sneak in "ornamental" veggies like mustard, kale, lettuce etc., and more strawberries would be nice. My garlic and potato onions from SESE still haven't arrived but I am going to plant them no matter what.

I just find it extremely disappointing that people should be so incredibly narrow and petty in their vision. We've seen a huge increase in bird, butterfly and bee population this year, in both numbers and diversity, and my neighbors have all said they like the garden. My neighbors' kids now know that food comes from plants. I'd been hoping to use what I'd learned this year to start a community garden somewhere, or even get certified as a SFG teacher. Just Friday I was looking into getting my yard recognized as a wildlife habitat.

To add insult to injury, we're forecast for heavy rain this week, so the bulk of the work will have to be done today and possibly Wednesday, and I'll probably get wet today. I may have to take time off work to get it all done.

Any bets on how many landscaping bags it'll take to clear out the rampicante? I still want to measure that thing!

Please do share with us how your own gardens are doing, if you've got something started for the fall, or what you might be thinking about for next spring. Once my chaos has settled I'll try to post some before and after pictures. I am not going to let this stop me!

Happy Gardening! flower
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  acara on 9/26/2010, 7:52 am

I have no response suitable for a mixed-member family oriented forum.

HOA's are the spawn of satan IMHO
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  El on 9/28/2010, 8:21 pm

I'm just ... well, I'm standing next to acara, not saying all the inappropriate things I'd just LOVE to spit out.

If you're interested in trying to grow a few things indoors under lights, I am chock full of resources, including which seeds to order (would be happy to send you some of mine for dwarf plants, too!), and how to set up inexpensive lamps. And you could console yourself this winter with a little pot of fresh tomatoes ... doesn't that sound delightful?
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Chopper on 9/28/2010, 9:05 pm

Why do HOAs have no recourse? Is this or is this not still the US? Do they meet? Are you able to present a case to them? Why do they get to make a decision without any input except the specific taste of the board members? Could there be a compromise? Garden ok, but no trellises?

A lawyer need not be invlolved. And you are a good communicator. I am sure you could find precedents and witnesses. You are int he shadow of the capitol - Give Me Rampicantes or Give Me Death!!!!

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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 9/28/2010, 9:59 pm

Thanks El and Chopper. We are going to try to sneak a few things into the front yard, and attempt the monsters in the backyard... I just worry seriously about the light. We do not have room to do plant lights except a very small area, and so forth.... our south-facing windows have the same problem as our backyard does, which is a bunch of mature trees.

Thanks so much for all the good thoughts!
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Chopper on 9/28/2010, 10:05 pm

Make the HOA trim the trees. That is their job. Smile

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HOA STFU

Post  trukrebew on 9/28/2010, 11:20 pm

Being that it has been rain, rain, rain, for the last few days, you may have been unable to see the bright side of the cloud over your head.....that is, at least they didn't send the letter in July or August!

I agree with Chopper, who needs a lawyer? Start getting those neighbors who do enjoy your front yard garden to sign a petition and start lobbying the HOA into changing the rules. They are rules set up by your neighbors anyway, right?
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  elliephant on 9/29/2010, 9:58 am

Personally, I'd get the media involved. It would make a great story, easy to spin in the light of popular issues of the day.

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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 9/29/2010, 6:55 pm

I've thought about the media, Ellie... but as the saying goes, "we've got to keep on living here". I think the rampicante was the straw that broke the camel's back, because it really has completely taken over the yard. In all fairness....if all our neighbors did that too, we'd have a ton of food, but the subdivision really WOULD look like a jungle. (Okay, I'm trying very hard to be fair about this....as much as it burns my fundament.)
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  camprn on 9/29/2010, 7:40 pm

affraid First off, i will say it, The Bastards!!!:!: This sucks!
Ok, here is my list of questions: Have you read the by-laws of the association? Are you or are you not in compliance? What is any recourse is written into the by-laws? is there an appeal process that you can file that will simply stall the deadline? Is it possible to petition your neighbors for a change of the decision? Is it possible to rally a grassroots effort to change the rules at the next annual meeting of the members? Have you looked into any state legislation or case law that may have come before regarding the same or similar issue? These are my first thoughts ( I have had to do similar stuff in the past @ my condo and sometimes it is worth the effort to just appear to be throwing a wrench into the works). Good luck and keep us informed of any turn of events.
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Update

Post  SQFTBIX on 10/26/2010, 12:35 pm

Megan,
Sorry to hear about the problems with your community association. When my wife and I were looking for our house, it was one of my prerequisites that there would be no community or homeowners association. I may be old fashioned but noone was going to tell me what I could and couldn't do with my yards.
I am in the middle of a total renovation of my gardens. I have pavers placed on the walkways on the inside of my plots and have begun to lay the pavers around the outside. After that is completed, then I will start laying the pavers up top to make a patio of sorts. It's a very slow process but I can see the progress and it's starting to take shape. Winter is approaching so I know I won't get it completed by then but at least I have probably half the pavers in. Progress is progress. As my elderly neighbor said to me - "what's your rush - you have the rest of your life to get it done." I think he is right on this at least.

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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 10/26/2010, 7:53 pm

Thank you. We didn't have much opportunity to be choosers when we bought this place, though I admit that a full-blown garden was the last thing on my mind at that point in time. If I'd had my druthers (and the funds) we would have had a nice house out in the middle of nowhere where we could do what we wanted. But, it's okay. I got away with it for almost a whole year, and I still have the challenge of the backyard plus sneaking things back into the front again. Smile

Please do share some pictures of your garden makeover if you get the opportunity. I'd love to see how it is going, even if it's only part done.

Our backyard is going to be a challenge to convert to SFG. For one thing, my husband has his ham radio antenna strung out there. Pole beans will just love that, but he may have a little issue with reception.... affraid
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Old Hippie on 10/26/2010, 8:18 pm

Oh Megan, I am so very sorry to hear what you have to put up with. Is there any way possible that you can appeal at least until the end of this growing season? It just seems that they have taken their job a bit too seriously and carried things a bit too far.

One of the reasons we moved out of the place we had been in for ten years, was because of the landlord's sons taking over from the father. They decided we couldn't do this and couldn't do that and eventually tried to have us evicted. We are/were good tenants. They were shut down by the Landlord/Tenant Agency but continued to make life miserable. We finally decided we had had enough. It is a long story. But out of it all came the opportunity to buy a little shoebox of a house with a big shop for my husband and a yard with a garden space. Not fancy but perfect for us. So we did, and have never looked back. AND to top it off......the house that we had rented for 10 years, without ever being late on a payment or breaking anything....sat empty for several months. Then it was rented by a man in his late 60's. He lived alone. He died in his sleep during a heat wave and nobody found him for 2 weeks! Sad for him and his family but oh so funny for the landlord's son who found him and had to clean up the place! I know I shouldn't laugh about it but 2 and 1/2 years later and I still do.

I am so hoping and praying that things will work out for you.

GK
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 10/26/2010, 8:54 pm

Thank you for the kind words and thoughts, GK. My poor garden is torn out and there's just pansies, mums, and ornamental kale there now... plus a lurking cabbage I left it (but it doesn't seem to want to make a head), a nasturtium and some onions left over. I will be planting more onions and garlic, though... and maybe a few other things. I was in the middle of planning a fall garden when all this happened and so all the seeds I had got in preparation went unplanted. I think it may be too late for anything but garlic and onions, but, we'll see.

Funny thing is, those "wild" yellow strawberries I planted this spring from seed are finally bearing. Very pale yellow, more cone-shaped than I usually see in a strawberry, and very sweet!
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Furbalsmom on 10/26/2010, 9:19 pm

Megan do you have a photo of your yellow strawberries?
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Re: Mid-Atlantic update for October 1 (a little early)

Post  Megan on 10/26/2010, 9:29 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:Megan do you have a photo of your yellow strawberries?

I have a bunch of photos of the plants growing this year, but none of the fruit itself. I'll try to get some tomorrow. (I am having a running battle between me and something? as to who gets to eat them!)
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