Our home really enjoys having its annual gardens, and honestly I can’t think of anyone who grows a garden who doesn’t look forward to it each year. We started out small about five years ago, just trying to grow a few things in what we saw as limited space. Our initial ideas have mushroomed each year since. Today instead of looking at our yard with an idea of limited growing space we look for ways and places to grow more.
What started out as just something to try, has grown into a annual affair that includes our children as well. On one side of the yard we used an old fence along with some purchased construction poly and created a greenhouse area that has become ideal for growing tomatoes and peppers. We removed a few strategically placed patches of grass and created raspberry and strawberry patches. What was once a grassy area in the middle of the yard has been raised up and is now an above ground garden being used for growing various onions, leafy vegetables and herbs.
We always like the idea of having some berry bushes for ourselves so last year pulled out a section on another side of the yard and planted Saskatoon berries, Currants, Blueberries, and Rhubarb. We also decided last year that the small old shed we had, needed to go, that spot was re-purposed and changed into another greenhouse. All in all our garden project has increased quite substantially, but the area that we have hasn’t changed, we merely changed the way we think about it, we’ve moved away from the idea of having grass everywhere to one of, what would we like to grow on this spot, whether is by putting it in the ground or using a potter or above ground garden.
It seems hard to make little plans when it concerns our gardens now, every new decision creates new ideas. Gardening, growing and making for ourselves has definitely become a part of our lives. Many of the trappings of this modern age, like fast food, processed groceries and its cheap and poorly made mass produced goods have lost there luster for us. As we speak to others we get the same feelings and hear many of the same words from them.
The changes we’ve made to our urban life have made us feel more comfortable doing things we never did earlier in our lives. We didn’t grow up on farms so we didn’t get the chance to live or be part of that side of culture, so for us growing our own tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions… is a big thing. All of the items we grow taste so much better that the ones we have bought in the stores. Sweeter, juicier and more flavorful, and if I were a chemist I’m sure I could prove scientifically they are healthier for us.
This year we are adding another level to our home gardening. We have joined a local group that supports and runs a community garden and for a small fee we are able to use a small amount of community property for the growing season. This extra area will allow us to add potatoes and beets to our growing list of home grown foods. We’re not at the point of self-sustaining yet, but the more we do, it seems the better we feel in more ways than one.
Small projects like the ones we’ve done are what make life in urban and city areas more livable, everywhere we look people seem to be getting the same or similar ideas. ‘Guerrilla gardens in overlooked and unused spaces’, these interventions to an existing way of life seem to be the only way families stand a real chance at a long term healthy life. Just go online and you can find example upon example.
“Inspiration breeds inspiration. Simple, interventions are contagious.”
We can squeeze more nature into our lives and in so doing we can make and help create good things for ourselves and for others to benefit and share in. It requires a little bit of creativity, some work and a change of attitude. With communication mediums like the internet on our side today’s good ideas can spread across the world in an instant.