Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grow your own!

So spring last year, we became increasingly aware of how additives and pesticides have an impact on our bodies. So how do we prevent this? Well the answer is to buy certified organic, (unless you know the grower then just organic is fine) and making as much of our own food as possible that include baked good, bread, canned food.

So for us being on a low income we can't afford to buy only organic food, so the warrior in me said "right we can't buy it, but I have dirt, I have hands, and the ability to learn!", "I can grow my own!" So that's our goal.

Last year was the first time we had a real vegy garden, we had dabbled a few times in the past, but this year we where making a real effort to see what we can do. Like any new and old gardener we had some successes and some failures. We had great Tomatoes, I rarely brought tomatoes from the store last year, and the ones I did, where not great, so gave up on that idea. Which was better for our health anyway. Carrots on the other hand where over taken with weeds and we ended up loosing most of them. One of the things I love about gardening is that everything is a learning experience, if something doesn't work this year, it teaches you about what to try next year.

The other things that is really great is the ability to put food in front of my family to eat and know that I am giving them the best that I can. It also really make we what to honour the work and effort that was put into growing that food, so when it comes to the kitchen I don't want to waste it. Everything get used or it goes into the compost to make more soil and nutritional compost for the garden, ready for next year.

So my goal is a long range goal, I'm not silly enough to think that I can do it all in the first year. I aim to grow as much of our family food supply as we can, so each year adding more and more. SO in saying that, we live in a suburban rental property, Our land lord is letting us have a vegy patch which is about all up 8x8 metres maybe more here and there. But that garden bed is not the only thing we are using to grow food, I'm trying to use up every available space. Last year we grew Zucchini plants in the flower beds, worked well and you don't have to have many plants to get a good crop. This year, I am aiming at seeing how many strawberry plants we need for our family of 7 so far, to have enough strawberries to eat, jam and freeze, or can. So I'm use strawberry plants as edible ground covers, putting the under trees, and around other plants.

Container gardening is a big thing for me. Because we rent we don't know how long we will be at this house. So we want to be able to take at least some of our crop with us when we leave. Hence container Gardening. Last year I grew 4 different variety's in containers on my balcony, as well as cut and come again lettuces variety's and spinach, raspberry plants in old draws from a fridge, and plenty of herbs, chocolate mint, sage, chives, rosemary, thyme, etc. This year we are adding more to our container garden including fruit trees, I have recently purchased two dwarf apple trees, and a dwarf cherry tree, a dwarf lime, and our lemon tree, which all can be grown happily in pots.

We don't have money but we do have time. That's my moto at the moment, I don't feel comfortable for example paying $100.00 for a already fruiting lemon tree, but I do feel fine about buying a small lemon tree for 15.00 and waiting 2 years for it to grow. I can be patient, until the tree grows I am happy get lemons from those that have a tree and and happy to share.

Also I realise that we will never be able to have everything, we can't grow our own meat, (yet, I have my think cap on about that one) but we can't grow wheat, or enough to feed us anyway, currently we don't have a goat to milk, or chickens for eggs, but we will get there and we have to live within the confines of our rental. But what I am finding is that the more of our fruit and vegy that we can grow, save us money that we can then spend of good quality flour, and grass fed meat, and free range eggs. It's one step at a time.

Go Organic!


  1. We've just planted fancy lettuce, Roma and cherry tomatoes, green basil and purple basil, rosemary and purple capsicum. When I get my house, I will fill up my back and front yards with fruit trees and get some more veggies going like the "dirty dozen".

    1. Yay! we started our fruit tree collection in pots with dwarf trees. :) I'm looking forward to having a good season this year. I'm planning on planting out our front yard with Pumpkins and sunflowers this year. :)