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Potted Plants are Illegal: Why YOU Can’t Grow Your Own Food In Miami-Dade County

We are not millionaires.  We are regular hard working people who want to grow our own food and above all live and let live.

But we are receiving more and more static from Miami-Dade County than I think we deserve.

Now, being honest, we have made what some would consider MAJOR changes to our front yard.

We cut down a large shade tree which has been there for 50 some odd years according to our neighbor, had the stump removed and replaced it with 7 fruit bearing trees … all spending little or no money by bartering and trading.  Maybe that’s what got them all riled up? 

We planted an edible Moringa Oleifera fence ourselves at night, as during the day it is too hot in a bit of Midnight Permaculture.

We also got a Special Delivery of 18 cubic yards of dirt to amend and prepare the crappy poor soil before planting our fledgling trees.

We also have some plants in pots waiting for me to select a more permanent home in the ground for them.  I’d say there are about 20 but it may be more or less.

So then, why is it that after running errands today we came home to a Courtesy Warming Notice from Miami Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources declaring:

UNAUTHORIZED USE IN A SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (RU-1), TO WIT: NURSERY BUSINESS IN A RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT; PLANTS: POOT SOIL (I can only assume they meant Potting Soil)

As you can see below:

We were quite confused.

We called the number at the bottom of the page and we asked to speak to a Supervisor.  The Supervisor politely explained that someone from our neighborhood reported that we were running a NURSERY BUSINESS IN A RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT.

This confused me even more.  Now, I have been working hard to collect a variety of edible plants and fruit trees to start my new garden.  With the help of many wonderful family and friends who have shared their plants, I do have a nice collection, but by no means is it a “NURSERY” standard collection of plants.  I mean, HONESTLY?  My 20 some-odd plants still in pots in the backyard (as you can see above) isn’t much to look at.

So I explained this to the Supervisor. The young lady responded that we could not have potted plants, that the plants needed to be in the ground and that if they could be seen from the sidewalk they would be considered as evidence of the complaint.  Additionally, she explained that we needed a Landscaper to do this for us.

My husband flipped out!

So, wait?  When did doing your own landscaping and having potted plants become illegal?  Did I miss something?

She informed me that she would speak to the Neighborhood Compliance Officer and we could discuss the issue when she called me back.

As I sat back and digested the conversation, it occurred to me, I live on a relatively busy street in the little known area called Westwood Lakes.  Every third car rolling down my street is a Landscaper … Coincidence?  I think not!

This is not the first comment we have heard from neighbors.  Some were quite pleased that we are making an edible garden, while others were less excited about the changes we made.  I may also hold a scornful eye for Landscape Trucks that pass my house from now on.

We currently don’t have a fence on the outskirts of our property, but I am beginning to give more and more credence to the adage that “Good Fences make Good Neighbors” and will be getting an estimate. Something Tall, I think … to keep the prying eyes away.  





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