Okay, as everyone knows I am a crazy and passionate gardener. I must admit my garden has been below gorgeous over the last two years. Not being able to garden properly due to an injury has really set it back. Now that I am more mobile and can actually get to the ground I have all these fandangled ideas that I want to achieve this year. This is the hard part. I tend to grow all sorts of plants and hope to make the yard look great.Then my actual real body kicks in and says I can’t garden for more than two hours at a time. Yes, many would think this is enough time to spend outside but for those of us with large properties, trust me four hours would be more realistic.
So I have this idea in my head. Let me know what you think. My friend Shawna Coronado has inspired me to grow more food. You see, even though I help out at the community garden I don’t grow enough food in my yard. Flowers are pretty but I would like to see more food grown. For one thing, I think food costs will be rising due to our reliance on imports from California. For those of you who don’t know, California is having the worst drought in over a century. Water is being cut off to farmers in California. A friend of mine posted the crops that we will see shortages on this summer. Guess where a lot of our grapes, strawberries, almonds and broccoli are grown? You guessed it. Could we not grow our own broccoli and strawberries? Almonds and grapes are a little harder to grow here. If you haven’t see the jump in almond prices in our grocery stores, hold onto your shopping cart. Because almond trees are water hogs, orchards are being ripped out in California. Yes, its true. Farmers are also looking at only planting a third of their farms due to the water shortage.They will get some rain today but it wont be enough.
So doesn’t it make sense for us to take responsibility for our own food production? Did you know BC grows less than 50% of its own fruits and vegetable?. We rely on other countries for a lot of our food.
So here is what I propose. This idea is not new at all. Its called foodscaping. Lets lay it out. Say there are six neighbours that know each other, mind you it would also be a good way to get to know your neighbours. If each neighbour collaborated with the others and decided to each grow one crop, they could trade at harvest time. Food such as squash, root crops, potatoes, corn, tomatoes and beans could be grown with each family growing one crop. Trading could be done over the summer and all the vegetables would be split equally. It would akin to creating your own CSA box in your neighbourhood. The more people involved the better the harvest, right? There is no limit to what you could grow.
This term is not new and is practiced in other parts of the world. Everyone gets together before planting time and makes a list of who will grow what. I think it’s a great way to get to know you neighbours plus the food is a huge benefit. Its like creating a farming community right in your own neighbourhood.
There are many families that will say they don’t have time or the space. As communities grow, there is less land to grow food.That is a big problem or is it? Maybe we just have to be more creative on how we grow food and what we are growing. For those people who don’t have time, crops like potatoes are an easy one to grow. Once planted watering is the only task needed to be done. We all water our gardens in the summer so it wouldn’t be an extra chore. If you have less space than your other neighbours, maybe grow crops that take up less room such as beans and peas which are more vertical.
So getting back to my plan for the garden this year. I am determined to plant my somewhat shady front yard with leafy greens. If I grow too much I will donate it to the local food bank. That’s a good thing to do if you cannot use your excess harvest. Now my front yard will not be entirely vegetables. For a really happy vegetable garden, you need to add some flowering plants to attract beneficial insects. After all, we need pollination to grow food. One doesn’t go without the other. So today I am off to start all my leafy greens in the greenhouse. I have lots of seeds to use up. I think I will plant up some Alyssum to plant around my lettuce. You see I still want my yard to look pretty. Did you know swiss chard and mesclun greens can be grown in the shade? Wow, the foliage contrast would be amazing and the best part is you get to eat it.
So would you be interested in foodscaping? I think it would be fun. For a look at this form of permaculture, check out this site. It has an interesting video of foodscaping and how to be a lazy gardener. That’s just up my alley. Okay, I am off to plant some seeds and I hope I have planted some seeds for thought today.