Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day!!! FOOD!!!

This year's focus for Blog Action Day is food! This is something we all should be able to talk about (especially being vegan and vegetarian). It is at the center of all of our lives, sustenance. 

Last year I moved into a house with a yard (it had been 17 years since I had one) and decided to take food matters into my own hands and grow my own. Or at least try to! I felt a strange responsibility to not let this yard go to waste. So, I bought a shovel and enlisted my boyfriend to turn our overgrown plot into a back yard bounty!

Here is what we started with...
  1. About 800 square feet
  2. 3 raised beds
  3. 3 trees and 1 big rosemary bush
We decided to start our vegetable growing with some standards...
  1. Potatoes
  2. Carrots
  3. Peas
  4. Corn
  5. Garlic
  6. Broccoli
  7. Cauliflower
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Squash
  10. Pumpkins
  11. Leeks

Early Season-Peas, Corn, & Squash in bed. Potatoes in containers.
I read a ton of books about companion planting, organic vegetable gardening, seed starting, and the different varieties. I spent so much time on all of this that I neglected getting the soil built up, but as spring was fast approaching I just went for it! I can not describe the feeling of seeing your seedlings or just seeds begin to grow! It is just amazing! All these little green sprouts were my little babies and now that they were here I wanted to do everything to make sure they grew! Midway through the season I realized that I did not have any fruit! So, I planted two bare root Raspberries and one Thimbleberry (a native plant of the Pacific NW). Also, I noticed an unidentified weed growing that looked incredibly like Green Beans!! My boyfriend said he usually just pulled them up! NOOOO!!! I left them to grow wild as they are accustomed to and added some support. I really like free stuff!

My first Pea Pod!!!
I weeded, watered, added more soil, and tended to my babies until they were ready to be eaten. In the last couple months or so we harvested...
  1. Potatoes (Yay!)
  2. Carrots (Yay!)
  3. Peas (Yay!)
  4. A whopping 3 small ears of Corn
  5. Garlic (Yay!)
  6. No Broccoli :(
  7. No Cauliflower :(
  8. Tomatoes (Yay!)
  9. No Squash
  10. No Pumpkins
  11. A few Leeks  
  12. 5 single Raspberries 
  13. Oh and Wild Green Beans (WOO-HOO!!) didn't make it!  
Although, our backyard provided us with a nice selection of vegetable, the harvest was not enough to live on alone. (Maybe next year!) To supplement my lack of food, I joined a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). After researching all the options and realizing that many of them ship food in from Mexico and all over the world, I found one that is all local, all the time! Receiving a weekly box of mystery food (that I know I can eat) is so thrilling. It has forced me to be creative in cooking and I have discovered many dishes that I love! The family asks for them too! I have also discovered many varieties that I had never tried before and now intend to grow next year.

With out much preparation and no experience we have successfully turned our back yard into our own little farm! Now, I just want some goats...they are so cute! But I digress, living in our uncertain times; unstable economies, rising gas prices, and global climate change, I highly recommend growing your own food. It is an incredibly rewarding feeling, even just a couple things or one! You don't have to have a yard to do so. There are a million books on container gardening, I know I checked out many of them from the library. So, get your hands in the dirt and grow your own!! Anyone can do it, if a city girl like me can, anyone can!! I promise!

1 comment:

FireHorse3 said...

I love this article! Well done for growing your own - sounds like just about every year in our garden - some successes, some failures ;o) But so satisfying to grow and prepare something from your own effort. We have just made some spicy plum chutney from our plum harvest - it is lovely ;oP