Most people don't know this, but anyone can plant a boulevard garden in Vancouver, as long as you follow the city's guidelines.
As an apartment-dweller, I went out of my way to find a piece of boulevard not adjacent to someone else's house, and found this empty strip right behind my apartment building and adjacent to a parking lot.
The city's guidelines include language about not encouraging vegetable gardening because of possible contaminants from the road, but you just need to use common sense. We've got a raised bed, well back from the road, with fresh soil we bought at a hardware store - always bring in your own soil to avoid contaminants like lead paint from older buildings. We should be more concerned about vegetables grown with pesticides in Mexico or China (where they also have serious air pollution problems), than lettuce and radishes grown on a quiet street in Vancouver.
Since we've planted out garden, we've generated tonnes of community interest (more on that in a future post) and there are now plans to turn the surrounding area into a more friendly public space (benches, flower beds, public art), and possibly a community garden.
Gardening also brings you a little closer to nature and the seasons, builds community and is a great way to relax after work.
It's Never Too Late
If you think it's too late in the season to start a boulevard garden, think again! We're just about to plant a second round of radishes and lettuce and we're already hatching plans for our winter garden (stuff grows year round in Vancouver, especially hardier winter vegetables like kale and chard).
It's open season for boulevard gardening in Vancouver - spread the word!