Rebecca O'Brien, deconstruction diva from Sustainable Warehouse posted this vid on Sustainable Warehouse's Facebook page.  Now you see, why my preference is for reusing items. By the way, Rebecca's always on the lookout for deconstruction volunteers.  If I recall, people that go out and help can earn Volunteer Bucks that can be cashed in for salvaged building materials.  Check out Rebecca's Sustainable Warehouse page (be sure to 'Like It').  Here's a few of other places around the Tri-County SC area where you can get cheap used building materials.
  • List of SC Habitat for Humanity ReStores - Side note: Seacoast Church partners with the Mt. Pleasant and Johns Island locations.
  • Community Thrift Store - 5300 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29406
  • Goodwill Stores - too many to list but my faves are the stores on Six Mile Road and Coleman Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant SC. The Rivers Avenue store (near the Community Thrift Store) is my location for used computer equipment and cool clothes sold by the pound. 99% of the fashionista-in-training's restyle project materials come from these two stores. Haven't tried store in West Ashley or the Ladson area yet.  Remember, Goodwill has loyalty cards.  Once you reach 250 points, you get 25% off your purchases.
Do you have any other good thrift stores to shout out?  Let me know.
 
As we get ready to redesign our chicken coop and possibly create some outdoor living space, I'm wondering what North Charleston's rules are regarding exemptions to building permits for homeowners. BOY, was it tough to find a straight answer, but I found it!

Charleston County's Building Service Inspection pages, listed a few frequently asked questions.

Question #1 "Do I need a permit if my project is under $1,000?"
Answer: "The homeowner does not need a permit for doing work under $1,000.00 if the work does not require an inspection and provided that homeowner is doing the actual work.  A Specialty contractor working for a homeowner would not need a permit for work under $1,000.00 if the work doesn’t require an inspection and the whole project only involves one trade; otherwise, permits are required for all trades and work no matter the value."

Ord. #1557 adopted 06/17/08
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 4 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHARLESTON COUNTY, ENTITLED
“BUILDINGS AND BUILDING REGULATIONS” AND CHAPTER 8 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHARLESTON COUNTY, ENTITLED “FIRE PREVENTION AND PROTECTION”

105.2 Work exempt from permit. Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:

Building:

1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11 m2).
2. Fences not over 6 feet (1829 mm) high.
3. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or IIIA liquids.
5. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
6. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
7. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (19000 L) and are installed entirely above ground.
8. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, and not including service systems.
9. Swings and other playground equipment.
10. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.
11. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
 
germainesolutions.com urban garden blog
When our backyard was loaded with 3 tons of cinderblock, I had a lot of urban garden questions.
Forgive me for jumping all over the place with topics, but I wanted to back up a little and cover those urban garden questions that I took a while to figure out in the beginning.  Hope its helpful to you, too! 

Wow, this blog entry took longer than I expected.  I'll answer more questions as they come to me (or as you send them my way). G'night!

G, is there an easy way replace your lawn with a herb or vegetable garden?

My husband and I used a combination of digging out the sod, thick layers of newspaper, corrugated cardboard and or plastic and topping that with tree mulch.  You really don't have to dig up the grass if you do it properly (we didn't wet the weed block layer). This process is known as sheet mulching.  Here are a few sites that describe sheet mulching or other easy alternatives.


G, does my city allow backyard chickens?


I looked up and listed the rules on backyard chickens for cities and towns Charleston County, SC where I live.  You can go to BackyardChickens.com to city ordinances search page.  If that doesn't work, google the name of your city and municipal code, then look for the section on animals, its in there somewhere.

Chapter 4 of the City of North Charleston ordinance on animals and fowl states: Domestic animal  includes dogs, cats, domesticated sheep, horses, cattle, goats, swine, fowl, ducks, geese, turkeys, confined domestic hares and rabbits, pheasants, and other birds and animals raised and/or maintained in confinement. My response - La, la, la, la, la, I get to be a farmer woo!

Sections 5.8 and 5.9 of the City of Charleston's ordinance on livestock states: Sec. 5.8 - Keeping cows and goats prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any cow or goat within the corporate limits of the city except at a distance more than one hundred fifty (150) feet from any dwelling, other than the dwelling of the person so keeping such animals, unless written permission is obtained from the residents and owners of such dwellings that may be within one hundred fifty (150) feet of the place where such animals are to be housed or maintained, and under such conditions that are approved by either the health officer, the public safety and housing officer or the division of animal control relating to the appropriate care and security of said animals. (Code 1975, § 5-11; Ord. No. 1976-29, § 1, 9-14-76; Ord. No. 1987-160, § 1, 9-22-87)

Sec. 5.9 - Keeping swine and poultry prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any hogs, pigs or poultry within the corporate limits of the city except at a distance more than one hundred fifty (150) feet from any dwelling, other than the dwelling of the person so keeping such animals, unless written permission is obtained from the residents and owners of the dwelling within one hundred fifty (150) feet of where such animals are to be housed or maintained, and under such conditions as are approved by either the health officer, the public safety and housing officer or the division of animal control relating to the appropriate care and security of the animals.

(Code 1975, § 5-12; Ord. No. 1976-29, § 1, 9-14-76; Ord. No. 1987-160, § 2, 9-22-87)

Basically, the City of Charleston's rule is if your homestead isn't in the middle of nowhere or you don't get written permission from neighbors living within 150 feet of your planned farm, you're (currently) out of luck.


Section 4.4 of the Town of Summerville's ordinance on livestock states: Poultry at large. It shall be unlawful for any person to permit or allow any chickens, ducks, geese or other poultry of any kind or description to be at large within the corporate limits of the municipality, excepton lands owned, leased or controlled by such person. Huh? What if the poultry is (at) small?


(Code 1982, § 3-4) Chapters 90.27 and 90.28 describe the Town of Mt. Pleasant's ordinance on livestock: § 90.27  KEEPING DOMESTIC FOWL.  It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or have in his or her possession any chickens, turkeys, ducks, guineas, geese, pheasants, pigeons or other domestic fowl that will because of noise, odors, or flies, or otherwise tend to impair the health or disturb the peace quiet and comfort of nearby residents occupants of places of business.

('81 Code, § 90.13) (Ord. 93050 passed 10-12-93)

§ 90.28  COOPS FOR CONFINEMENT OF FOWL. It shall be unlawful for any person to confine fowl in coops or other enclosures less than 18 inches in height.  Such coops or other enclosures shall not be so filled that fowl therein will not be able to move around freely within the same.  All coops or other enclosures used to confine fowl shall be provided at all times with clean food and pure water placed in Containers outside of the coop or other enclosure, protected from contamination, and accessible to the fowl at all times.  Coops or other enclosures used to confine fowl shall be provided with clean litter and cross-ventilation at all times.  No fowl shall be left in any building unless provision is made for outside ventilation. ('81 Code, § 90.14) (Ord. 93050, passed 10-12-93)





 
wholesale store sells chicken feed
Chicken feed for sale in North Charleston
 
G, I don't have time to make my own compost!  Sure you do.  Here's the first of two quick and easy compost methods.

#1) Trench Composting

Supplies you'll need.  Garden bed or container garden; shovel; food scraps (think produce peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, and unbleached paper plates, towels, etc.).
Optional supplies: Newspaper (unending supply from my food coupon adventures) and/or hay for the lasagna style layering affect.

Step one: Dig a hole.
Step two: Add your food scraps.  I chopped mine up with a shovel.
Step three: Bury your food scraps. (I've added some shredded paper and hay as a compost 'coverup' that should attract worms and keep pests from digging it up.  Like the layered garden technique I learned about and used in my asparagus beds last year from an article on Lasagna Gardening).  My asparagus beds look amazing right now, so let's see if my lazy variation works).  Oops, I forgot the blood and bone meal.  No worries, I'll mix it in with the growing medium.
Step four: Get to planting. 

Want to learn more about lasagna gardening?
T on the authentic lasagna garden method?  Patricia Lanza's website (which lists her as the first lasagna gardener) is loaded with step by step instructions.

Extra Lazy Urban Garden Ideas
That rosemary bush in the center of it all is actually housed inside the stump of a tree we cut down to get more sun for growing food.  We reused pieces of the tree's small branches to form these and other beds.  After using  bamboo we scored on Craigslist to add structure to the ginourmous newspaper pot for a dwarf grapefruit tree, I camouflaged the tree stump in the same manner.  I'll do the same for the banana tree that's living in the small shelf a neighbor tossed out as trash.  

What can be simpler than that?  Glad you asked.  I'll come back with info on making a worm compost bin that you can keep indoors.
 
urban garden-ese
Urban garden-ease: making use of the stuff you already have
Picture
Neglected produce and coffee grounds can help me grow more stuff!
G, what do these two pics have to do with urban gardening?  Good question.  The first picture is like the Thrill of Victory - cantaloupe I had for breakfast with my morning cup of Joe came from my backyard garden.  I didn't plant any seeds to get this to grow, it actually sprouted out of our composting our chicken's poop.  (I took that bowl of cantaloupe and cukes out to our new flock to thank them in advance for the work they're gonna be doing for us.

The second pic shows some spoiled garden vegetables and other veggie remnants that went bad when I was out of town.   The Agony of Defeat right - or is it?  If all I do is toss this stuff into the trash to be hauled to the landfill then it is.  Instead, I'm reusing it (and my coffee grounds) to make compost that'll go back to work for me in the garden.  I'm also reusing that Earthbound Farms lettuce container to hold some of my food scraps in the future.  That same lettuce container also helped me score about 8 Earthbound Farm coupons, including two coupons for free salad. Reusing (instead of recycling) is the gift that keeps on giving.

Contrary to what many believe urban gardening doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. CAUTION: Urban garden-ease does involve some labor intensive weekends, but you can handle it.  Next I'll show you two lazy compost methods in a space I'm prepping for a medicinal herb garden in the front yard.

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Last Updated December 12, 2011
Original Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
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