Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grow your own!

As the years have gone by, we became increasingly aware of how additives and pesticides have an impact on our bodies, and have an increasing desire be in more control over what we put into the bodies or our children and ourselves.
So how do we prevent this? Well the answer is to buy certified organic, (unless you know the grower and then just organic is fine) and making as much of your own food as possible that includes baked goods, bread, canned foods etc.
For many on a low income or those with many mouths to feed, buying everything organic is not always an option. So being the warrior that I am, I started to think about ways that we can do the best we can with what we have and 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 veggie 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 go well this year, it’s a lesson for 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 makes me want 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, and each year adding more and more. SO in saying that, we live in a suburban rental property, we are lucky enough to have a veggie garden, and fruit trees now. However when we first started this journey our land lord was letting us have a veggie patch which is about all up 8×8 metres maybe more here and there. But that garden bed was not the only thing we are using to grow food. I tried to use up every available space.  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 years goal for us to work on using the available space effectively.
If you are a renter and you think “Oh I would like to grow my own but I don’t know how long we will be at this house”, and don’t want to invest in making a garden only to leave it behind. You are not along. I started my gardening journey with container gardening, and to this day I still find some of my crops grow better in containers like Lettuce.
For many years I have grown several different variety’s of lettuce in containers on my balcony. Cut and come again lettuces variety’s and spinach work great. When you look at the money you can save by just growing your families need for leafy greens, it is well worth you time to at least think about.
We have also started many of dwarf fruit trees in containers, and have several crops from them before having the opportunity to plant them in the ground.
Now 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, BUT we have chickens for eggs. 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 foods,  grass fed meat, and other staples in our diet. It’s one step at a time.

Go Organic!

~ Christina Mathewson

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