Two houses down from us on the street corner is a lot with unfenced front and side yard space that hasn't been cultivated in the nine years we've lived here. Alongside the house, between the sidewalk and the street is a strip of land in full sun, 3 feet across by 55 feet long filled with knee-high weeds. I'd been walking and biking past this lot for years, often multiple times a day, but not until recently were my eyes opened to the gardening possibility there.
I approached the home owner to ask her permission to garden in the sidewalk plot. She didn't exactly say "yes" but she didn't say "no," either, even as she agreed that she doesn't own the property between the sidewalk and the street - the city does. I decided to go ahead with the planting, figuring I had nothing to lose, only much to be gained. I mentioned the idea to our neighbor Dell, a fellow gardener, and together we began excitedly scheming about what to plant come springtime. Sarah and Gabe, our neighbors to the back, were thrilled at the idea of beautifying the space that their house overlooks, and they offered to let us use their water if we all shared the expense.
Over the next few weeks, Dell and his family finished the weeding, tilling, and amending, using compost from their bin and ours, as well as a few bags of horse manure I had. Peppers, basil, cucumbers, six tomato plants, scarlett runner beans, and several summer and winter squashes I had started from seed were slowly planted. Dell constructed a small raised bed and planted various leafy greens.