Small lots provide many opportunities for families and local communities to enjoy nature and family time. Our family has been gardening our lots for many years. Every year we try new things. In our 15ft 9in x 20 ft corner lot we have set up: two 4ft x 8ft gardens, a number of garden pots and even a crab sandbox for the kids to play in. Next year we are going to try some vertical gardening. I’ll bet we save a few hundred dollars a year in veggie savings.
This year we are trying Square Foot Gardening (if you are interested here is a link www.squarefootgardening.com). It is a neat way of organizing the plants and rotating selections during the season. We’ll put up more postings of pictures as the plants grow.
As a family, gardening is a great way for the parents and the children to bond. Everyone gets to participate in the planting and harvests of the veggies. I think the kids favorites are the strawberries and the tomatoes. They tend to eat more than they put into the bucket. The kids also love playing in the sandbox and create little worlds in the sand. The big dog loves her piece of dirty we set aside. I think she just loves being along side her family and guard her family.
Little gardens also give neighbors a chance to meet and share. We love sharing some of the pickings with neighbors. I know our neighbor around the corner likes the peppers we gave him. He even dropped of a surprise gift of a gardening book for us. So you know, he always gets his peppers every year. We also have a teenager in the neighborhood that loves to take pictures of the flowers my wife grows. She is always welcome to take pictures of the flowers.
Our 80-plus year old tree is in danger from development plans on an adjacent lot that is just too small for building or living, 14ft wide x 20ft deep. The design calls for a 3 story trinity house which would force cutting almost half the branches. If the shock doesn’t kill the tree, it would still be unbalanced, posing the danger of falling toward our house or neighbor’s properties,
The plan is coming before the Philadelphia Zoning Board soon. Hopefully, they will see that the lot is too small for the suggested plan. However, if the Philadelphia Zoning Board releases the lot’s owner from the open space requirements, our tree will be destroyed.
Here is a summary of our discussion with the lot’s owner/developer so far:
In our very first encounter (Early 2015) before he purchased the lot, we told him the lot would not be worth it. There was no way the local area was going to permit a curb cut for a garage, because they just turned down similar requests to larger houses down the street.
The next encounter (Saturday 5/16/2015): The gentleman approached saying that he bought the lot property next to our house and said he was going to build upon it. I told him we would fight any zoning changes for the property use. Here is one of his comments as it related to the Old Tree:
You are going to have to get the tree off my property side when I build my work shed.
That’s when we asked our tree company to trim up the tree as much as possible to get room for the developer. Our Arborist said that if they take away that big branch, we will have to take away the entire tree for safety.
We heard nothing for a year, until Friday night (6/3/2016), when the developer posted a notice for a zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/7/2016. This left us one weeknight to circulate a petition among the neighbors. In less than 2 hours we got 47 signatures Against the Zoning Relief!
At the Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting (Tuesday, 6/7/2016), the Developer said:
If the tree is on my side, I can trim that, correct?
After the 6/7 meeting, we figured the next meeting would be on August 3, 2016 with the Philadelphia Zoning Board in downtown Philly. However, we got another late Friday night (6/17/2016) notice for a meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016. A bunch of neighbors were complaining about the late notice, and how only a few people could make the meeting.
At the next Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016, I mentioned that we had the arborist clean up the tree as far above his lot as possible. The Developer replied:
Did you get a quote for cutting down the tree?
We don’t want our tree to be cut down! It is one of the oldest, tallest trees remaining in our neighborhood of South Philly. The Big Tree helps
4 Month old sister kittens, Bubbles and Heart, watching the birds in the Big Old 2St Tree. They are rescues from a neighbor in Queens Village. They love sitting in the stairs and looking out the window at the birds in the tree.