Published Jul 24, 2010

Finding Civilization in the Age of Lawnlessness

By Luke Gran

Nearly 50 Iowans toured 3 backyard gardens in Ames, IA on Saturday. 3 stops showed a sampling of what urban dwellers can do to participate in food production, conservation, and greener living.

Amber Anderson-Mba’s Dwarf Nigerian milk goats, ducks, and chickens grazed/browsed the lawn amid perennial and annual food crops. Her rain-barrels collecting water for all her garden and animal watering needs. Last year, Amber purchased no additional municipal water for her garden!

Steven and Ethy Cannon turned their two cozy homes on the edge of a busy street into a garden oasis, blocking road noise, pollution, and peering eyes while maintaining food production, and adding aesthetic value to the property. They even expanded their food production by purchasing an under utilized urban waste adjacent to a railroad right of way (see below).

Ethy explaining the transformation to Field Day guests with photos.

Steve Cannon (left) visits with Jeff and Delphine, guests to the garden.

Finally, the third stop was at the home of Helen Gunderson featuring creative construction of garden scale facilities for processing (an outdoor sink), Chicken housing (a Chicken Hilton), and lasagna bed gardening. Her creative use of fencing as a trellis for grapes as well as impressive beds of ripe raspberries.

Gardening is a neighborly hobby.
Helen identifies japanese beetles in her garden and how to deal with them (bucket + oil) drop pest in bucket, overturn bucket to the chickens.