I live in Pittsburgh, in the urban neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, just a block from the entrance to the Parkway; you can be downtown in under 10 minutes. Except for the apartments where I live, the houses are single family dwellings or duplexes. Most are not very far from the houses next door to them. My side of the street is a hill, and there are typical Pittsburgh long steps leading to each house. This is in no way suburban. I therefore was astonished to find that there is a small farm at the end of my street.
Perhaps you are thinking, there's a large garden at the end of her street, maybe, not a farm. But I think it is a farm, unless the sole defining factor is selling what you grow. I have seen no evidence that they are selling their fruits and vegetables. They grow enough to be selling them somewhere, but they seem to have a large extended family, so who knows, they may eat it all.
There are two separate houses which front the street, and which appear to be owned by two related families. The large lots behind and next to the houses are planted up as one, and fenced by a common wall, which is the chainlink fence you see in the picture. Closest to the fence are the tomatoes (at least 200 plants), the zillions of peppers(several different types and colors), and the beans, neatly tented. Up against the wall of the shed/garage structure you see (there is also another one) are 5 fig trees! They appear to be 10 feet tall or so, and are planted directly in the ground. And they have figs on them! In Pittsburgh!
It is hard to get a good look at the rest of the space, which is more or less around the corner from the street. Even standing right up against the fence, and rudely craning my neck, I can only catch a glimpse of that area, but I can see that there are fruit trees, and that they are in a row. I can't see them well enough to tell what kind they are, and I can't see what else grows back there.
The only visible flowers are in foundation plantings in the front of the very tidy houses, and a tall row of bright red cannas.The latter seems to be in the nature of a screening or privacy fence between the little farm and the next house on the block.
At least one of the houses is owned by an elderly old world sort of couple, who dress in dark clothing, even when working in the sun. They look very weathered and remind me of the old people I saw in little Cyprus hill towns. These elderly greek cypriots would sit and chat together outside a small tavern, all in black , the ladies with purple headscarves. There were many pleasant, raisiny faces. (I cannot understand why so many traditional old people wear very dark clothing in warm Mediterranean countries- does it not make them hotter? There must be an explanation. Can they all be in mourning?) I think the elderly people on my street farm speak Italian to one another, but I am not sure that is their language, because although I am horribly nosy, I am shy of getting close enough to hear, and annoy them.
I'm not really sure who lives in the second house, but there are middle aged adults around sometimes, and children, who play in the flat areas between the plantings, and seem to be visitors. On holidays, the children and older adults may been seen on the porches, dressed formally, as they go in and out.
The plantings make me jealous, especially the figs. In fact, one day I may be so overcome with curiosity and longing about the figs that I work up my nerve to speak to someone there, and ask how they do it. They are never near the fence, so you can't just have a neighborly word in passing, you'd have to wave madly, and call them over. They are certainly not looking for this kind of contact, so I haven't done it. In any event, there is something nice about the mystery of it all.
Living 6 years now in an apartment, which is sort of like a little row house, with an individual porch in front, and shared deck behind, I miss real gardening. I grow things in tubs on the porch and by the house- a few tomatos, herbs, flowers and a baby kaffir lime tree. The lime tree will join my Meyer lemon tree at work when the weather gets chilly. (My lone lemon is still green, and firm. Never having had a lemon tree before, I don't know how long lemons generally take to ripen. I have various alternate plans/fantasies for consuming mine when it does.) The lime tree has quite a few cute limes on it. These are reputedly not so tasty. I grow the tree for it's leaves, which are yummy, somewhat in the manner of lemongrass.
I am sensible enough to know that I couldn't ever manage an urban farm like my neighbors. I am so much lazier and less diligent than they are. But I do miss my old garden, more than my house. I particularly miss my Cox's Orange Pippin apple tree, despite the work and mess it entailed. I likewise regret my perennials and vegs. And I want a greengage plum tree of my own in the worst way. I think sometime I'm going to have to find a little house with a manageable sized garden. Maybe when I retire, or something. In the meantime, I get a huge kick out of walking by the little farm on my way home from work every day.