One Ohio gardener is up in arms over some complaints they’ve received about their “messy” yard and has taken to Reddit to vent.
“Lately, I’ve been told more than once that the raspberry patch on the side of my house is too messy, and that it should be cut back some,” they said in a post on the r/gardening subreddit. “[They say] that it’s invading the yard and looks bad.”
The person went on to say that the raspberry bushes provide their family with around $200 of free food each year and have helped to teach their two-year-old daughter about the natural world.
“In this day and age where it’s hard to find food that is not processed at least a little bit, I find it to be upside-down thinking to suggest that these things are less worthwhile than the appearance of tidiness and consistency,” they said.
While this particular poster is not part of a homeowner’s association, it is not uncommon for HOAs to enforce strong policies about what people can grow in their yards. Some HOAs may restrict flower and vegetable gardens to a small section of the front yard, while others restrict them to backyards where they cannot be viewed from the street. Some HOAs even completely ban full food gardens.
This attitude against home gardening is bad news, as growing your own food has a number of benefits. First off, it can save you money.
“Tonight my family and I picked more than seven cups of fresh, chemical-free raspberries, which would have cost us about $40 at a grocery store,” the Redditor said.
Gardening is also good for your mental and physical health. A University of Colorado Boulder study found that people who gardened consumed 1.4 more grams of daily fiber compared to a non-gardening group. People who had recently taken up gardening also increased their activity levels by 42 minutes per week.
Though tidy lawns have been the norm for years, there is a yard “rewilding” movement that seeks to incorporate more native plants and gardens into home landscapes. Native Garden Designs and Yardzen offer support for beginners looking to rewild their yard.
Native plants have adapted to their surroundings, so they don’t need fertilizers or much water to thrive. “I find it ignorant and cynical to tell me not to grow something that does so well with no chemicals and minimal labor,” the user added.
If you are part of an HOA community and are struggling with gardening regulations, you are not powerless. Here are some tips on how to enact change, including reaching out to your HOA board and investigating state laws.
Commenters on Reddit sided with the poster, with one person saying, “I think they need a better hobby.”
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