#27 You can’t grow anything in cement

As I’ve written on this blog before, you’ll have to grow a lot of your own food after the global climate change cataclysm. A recent stroll through my neighborhood made me realize that many people in the modern era are not aware of one crucial principle of growing fruits, vegetables and other plants:

No matter how much or how often you water the sidewalk, you’ll never be able to grow anything in cement.

Ditto for asphalt. Take a look and see what I mean:

You can grow plants in dirt, potting soil, water and sometimes even air. But never, ever in cement. Don’t waste your water on the sidewalk or the street. It will give you nothing but heartache and an empty belly.

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5 Responses to #27 You can’t grow anything in cement

  1. Bob Waldrop says:

    You can’t grow anything in cement, but you can certainly grow a lot of stuff ON cement. I planted my fall garden in containers on my driveway. I have chard, winter squash, and pumpkins flourishing on cement.

    Recently, there was a leak in a water line in the center of the street in front of my house. After a couple of days, city equipment showed up and they dug down to the water line. I observed the process with interest, mostly because I was interested in the practicality of “de-paving”. After looking at the five feet deep hole, and noticing how hard and packed every layer of soil was, I decided that de-paving will be more work than it will be worth. It will be much easier to garden ON the pavement in the soon-to-be-used-much-less-by-vehicles streets. Containers are a possibility, but I also know gardens on cement where the gardeners took bricks and cement blocks to make beds, filling the cavities with soil, straw, and compost.

    However, as a cautionary tale against wasting water on sidewalks, the point is well taken.

    In the meantime, we do well to remember that container gardening will likely save some cities from starvation.

  2. blog52 says:

    I’m totally with you about container gardening, Bob. I’ve been reading more and more stories about what cities are doing to grow food in unusual places, like the roofs and sides of buildings.

    But you’re seriously damaging my dream of saving my city by taking a jackhammer to parking lots and city streets. I wonder how long it would take for the soil underneath to return to life. Would it help to use the jackhammer there too?

  3. vbonnaire says:

    B52 — all great posts
    B52 –it’s bad, with all this new war stuff. Bad. Time to try and be like pioneers?

    In LA they have those guerilla gardeners? I loved that — people just planting anyplace!

  4. […] you’ll never be able to grow anything in cement. Listen to the podcast, watch the video or read the post to learn […]

  5. Bob Waldrop says:

    Regarding jack-hammering the soil underneath paved roads. . .

    the street in front of my house is about 90 or so years old. I didn’t see anything going down five feet under the pavement that looked like anything other than seriously packed cement hard clay. A jack-hammer would certainly break it up into smaller clods, and rain and etc would help. But a jack-hammer is a pretty high-energy tool, and if de-paving the streets becomes possible, it seems unlikely to me there will be enough spare power for jackhammers. So pick and shovel will be the tools of choice. In the short term, container garden will be the preferred alternative.

    We can still see Roman roads, 2,000 years after they were built, so I think these will be here a long time.

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