Thursday, January 12, 2012

Preparations for Spring

I know some of you may be thinking, wait, hold up, you're talking about spring when our unseasonably mild winter has only really just got started and we just finished celebrating New Years Eve? My thinking is that it can take some time to be prepared for spring, what am I talking about? Gardening of course! I have had a garden plot for two years, and before that I experimented with porch gardening for two years prior to that. With much trial and error, I have come to a point where I now want to focus on learning how to yield. Since I want to stay organic, I am researching how to companion plant.

My porch garden in 2009; what you see are beans, chives & wheat grass.
Yes, yes, I realize alot of you don't have the option to garden, being as you may live in small quarters, possibly an apartment in the city? Well there are still options for you. I love this, great DIY project for anyone concerned about trying to subsidize expensive organic food costs by growing what you can in your own home with only a window; here's a great TEDTalks about that very subject.

Limited space? Here's a blog that talks about gutter gardens; yes you heard me right, same theory as a window box only it's gardening in gutters that are secured to the outside walls of your home (which ever direction gets the most sun).

In my garden plot, I have several plants that should come back this year (my 3rd year, 10'x10' plot), or plants which I allowed to wild seed, which includes; Oregano, Arugula, Thyme, Blueberries (this will be it's first year that it's mature enough to produce fruit), Lavender, Peppermint, Chives, & Lemon Balm. I always seem to have a bunch of plants mysteriously show up (obviously wild seeded somehow from neighboring plots), which I think is fun.
My porch garden in 2009
In past years I have done things pretty wild and disorganized, usually I have too many things going on in my life that I am unable to properly prepare & plan out what I am doing. This year I have made time. It's worth it. Not only does it lower my impact on the environment (footprint) by eating what I raise in my garden, I am buying less food that comes from far away (even if it is local, it still has to be driven to Montreal) and I am more sustainable as an individual within society.
Last year, even though I was regularly neglectful of my garden (I was working too much), I still was shocked at how much food my garden produced, while not all my needs were met, it was enough to make my grocery bill a heck of alot cheaper, and it cost me almost nothing to get started, especially since I collect seeds at the end of the season. Since I eat organic, this makes a significant improvement to my quality of life and health.
The other added benefit of gardening is that it is exercise, and it is very emotionally healing. It gets me outside in the sun and fresh air, getting my quota of vitamin D.
2010 Beans early in the growing season at my community garden plot.
Both my great-grandmother (who died in her mid-eighties when I was 18 years old), my step-grandmother, & mother (mostly during the 1980's) had large vegetable gardens (anywhere from 10x10 feet up to an entire backyard), fished & canned. Especially the grandmothers, they raised an incredible amount of food, enough to keep at least a family of four fed regularly. Excess food was often traded with neighbors or friends who were growing or baking things that they weren't; in this way, they created a sustainable network of organic small time growers who had very little needs for supplies provided from the outside world.
2010 - Mystery Squash; I had a bunch of small vine plants show up in my compost when I was going through the compost that had been sitting fallow over the winter, stirring it, and was shocked to find 60 beautiful, healthy plants!
"Dear, you need to rely on yourself, your friends, your family, your community, but don't rely on the government." Their reasoning for doing this was because it was passed down through the generations as the right way to live. But why is this the right way to live? While self-sufficiency is always good, unexpected turbulent times can hit anyone at any times, be that personal, economic, social, global et cetera. The "great depression" being a prime example of why already having the habits of self-sustainability is a smart thing to do; at least this is what they taught me. I wish I had listened more and learned what I could while they were around, but unfortunately now that I am ready to learn they are no longer here to teach me. Luckily, I have my friend, the internet!

2010 Community Garden Plot - Arugula. I was very neglectful of my garden, as you can see it needed cleaning up and better maintence, which is my goal for this year is to truly learn to become an urban farmer!

No comments:

Post a Comment