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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:


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.  


  1. Soooo dam tired of all the rules and regulations pushing poor home owners into dept and leans on their homes due to other neighbors incompetence, hatred, and/or racial profiling.

    all this said what is one to do if they have no money to reply with legal action?

    does one just give up the home to the banks .. fight with the neighbor ... burn their houses down ... wha????

  2. Hey,

    I was the landscaper that called the complaint in. Nothing personal, but I need to make money too. If you go make your own garden then I won't get any money! I'll continue to report you until you hire me!

  3. Really funny, get a lawyer, threaten to sue the bejusus out of em, I did and they backed right off. I love "you must get a landscaper" record all calls and have a lawyer buddy drop a letter of intent on the local commish. believe me when I say you will get results, or help me howard...............

  4. Hi,
    So sorry to hear what's happening, we're neighbors from Westwood Lakes and it's terrible that this is happening in our area.

  5. Stop the madness!! I'm hearing this kind of bs all over the country now. I'm in Oregon where our state government has informed us that "they" own the rain and we can't even capture rain from our roofs into rain barrels now (I'm simplifying, but still!) If someone will start a movement regarding our dwindling freedoms, I'll join in. I'd do it if i knew how to start such a thing, but I'm a quicker picker upper for sure. On the other hand, we could have a million man march to the capital of every state all at the same time, ummm! I like it.

  6. These laws should be there to prevent businesses from being run out of single-family homes in a residential area. So, as long as you aren't running a business out of your home, you should be OK.

  7. I thought that the USA was the land of the free? How can any government own the rain and, should even 10,000 households decide to catch rainwater in barrels what could they do about it. Criminalise everyone? I think not unless they want serious trouble with the natives especially with the American penchant for suing. How many would it take to get enough money for legal representation of a whole town for example? Besides who would vote for any official who dared to approve such nonsense.


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