So, I initially decided that ornamental hot peppers would be a good fit for my sidewalk planters because I figured if any of the numerous kids in the neighborhood decided to swipe one, the first bite should keep them from doing it again. So far, so good in that respect. I haven't seen any signs of half eaten peppers dropped on the street- even the squirrels leave them alone!
I figured I would get a few hot peppers off of each plant, and that those peppers would then get put to use in making salsa. This also has been the case, and I have enjoyed numerous batches of salsa and fajitas flavored by the little spicy treats, as well as enough to dry to last me well through until my next batch matures.
What I didn't expect, was that putting plants, especially edible ones, would produce so many conversations and compliments from the neighbors. Let's face it, concrete sidewalks faced by brick rowhouses can get a little monotonous and really HOT in the summer. Sure we have a few trees on the street, and in recent years my other gardening minded neighbor has upped her sidewalk presences in the form of a new sidewalk planting bed (she is on the corner, so having flowers on the curb line doesn't block people from opening car doors since they can't park there anyway) But even my 3 little planters have drawn compliments on how much it improves the look of the block! I have enjoyed hearing peoples comments and have encouraged others to put something out front, even one flower pot can do wonders- every little bit helps. In the midst of those conversations I have offered to let neighbors pick a few of the peppers, since the plants produce well more than I will ever have use for. And here's where the fun part comes in... the neighbors are starting to offer me things from their gardens in exchange! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some of my neighbors have veggies and herbs growing in their yards, but after receiving several nice cucumbers and an offer of basil, cilantro and more tomatoes (just harvested 4 lbs from my own plants) it hit me, just how much produce is being grown on our block- and all of us still have room for patio sets!
At this point I have to thank William Penn for his brilliant concept of a "greene country towne"- and making it a point that even urban lots have a little plot for vegetation; especially after visiting Annapolis last weekend and noticing how close together the houses are and how little outside space each lot has. I know every bit helps and that it is possible to produce a good deal from planters and window boxes, but I think I'll stick to urban gardening in the Penn's "country towne."