This article on growing food in an HOA neighborhood is quite good:
“The busybody HOA head is going to say “gardens don’t look pretty”. Fine. But see what you are allowed to have. Can you have trees? Perennials? A flower bed? Containers? Check the bylaws carefully. If you can have any of those, you can grow some food. If you can plant trees, what’s the difference between an ornamental pear or cherry and their more edible varieties? They all drop fruit and your HOA board may have no idea which is which. You can plant a tree guild around the tree with things like herbs and flowers that grow well in partial shade. If you can have perennials, you might get away with asparagus. Most people have no idea what it looks like after it’s grown out of the phase that we eat. It’s tall and feathery and a fine backdrop tucked in the back of a flower garden. Asparagus won’t work in more tropical climates, but why not some moringa? It’s a healthy green in tree form. There are a lot of nice looking plants that you can tuck in a perennial or flower garden. Sweet potato is a very pretty plant, available in bush or vine form. There are even varieties that will do fine in the more northern areas. You can eat the leaves and of course the tuber. Unlike most of the food options, it is a high calorie crop and stores well. Even a lot of flowers are edible, like nasturtiums…” (Click here to keep reading)
The author is correct in that the BEST thing to do is to GET OUT of HOAs and head to the country; however, if you are stuck, the advice on plants that can be hid and figuring out avenues around restrictions is quite good. I recommend reading the entire article if you find yourself in a situation where food growing is restricted.
RELATED: Amy Stross wrote a very good article here a few years back covering how she used edible landscaping to both grow food and improve the look of her house.
Yes, I live in an HOA and have to practice stealth gardening. If I had it to do all over again, I would not move to an HOA community; we’ve been here for 25 years, and our apple trees and blueberries are mature now so I’d hate to give them up. Plus, I keep thinking this is the year my Paw Paws will start producing…
No need to run for HOA dictator. I convinced a friend whose hoa didn’t allow veggie gardening to fight it. He spoke to a few neighbors, followed the process to put the issue up for a vote, and won a change in the bylaws.
He was still restricted to the back yard, but was surprised how many of his neighbors thanked him for ending the tyranny.
Good for him.