I have not heard anything from the Town of Oakville regarding the complaint made about my new vegetable beds on the front lawn. I do know from looking at our town bylaws, however, that the problem is not the plants–those are allowed. The problem is the wood. Raised planters are not allowed on town boulevards.
I went for a walk around the block–just one block–and found many other raised beds on town property (the town owns all the trees). It would appear that many of us like the idea of raised beds, and it’s no wonder. With clay soil in our yards, the growing conditions in this neighbourhood are miserable. Adding soil on top of the grass gives plants a chance to sink their roots into rich, fertile soil instead. The soil in raised beds also warms up faster in the spring, giving plants a head start (and they really needed one this year!). The sides of the beds, made of a variety of stone and wood materials, make sense, too. It would be a shame to invest in all that great soil just to see it wash away into the storm sewers every time it rains.
In April of this year, the Toronto Star published an article by Catherine Porter that actually recommended raised beds for front yards, especially to grow vegetables (Josephine Archbold, a toxicologist with Toronto Public Health was the one giving advice). That way, she argued, the produce wouldn’t grow in soil that had been contaminated by years of car exhaust or other possible toxins.
Clearly, people in my neighbourhood like raised planters, and the city hasn’t demanded their removal. Funny they would ask me to remove mine.