|Girl holding home grown tomatoes|
More and more folks are asking, “Why grow your own food?”
There are so many answers to that question, that it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s take a look at the history of growing food first.
For centuries, people grew the majority of their own food. There were no supermarkets, just family grown food, and farmer’s markets where extra food was sold, or bartered. As more and more people lived in cities and towns, they couldn’t grow their own food, so the farmer’s markets got bigger, because the farmers were growing enough extra so that the people living in towns could buy food instead of growing it.
And that led to cross pollination, gene splicing, etc… which I won’t get into in this post. That’s not what I’m writing about here.
Now, in today’s world, with the price of food at the supermarkets, gene splicing, additives, etc…. the food you buy isn’t really all that healthy for you. So, what can you, as an individual do? The answer is both simple, and complicated. You can grow at least part of your own food. Even living in an apartment, there may be some things you can grow.
Another solution, which is also coming back into favor in a lot of communities, are community gardens. These are gardens where a plot of land is used by the people living around it to grow food and share it with each other. There are empty city lots in just about every city on earth where food could be grown, instead of letting it sit empty, and unused.
How about making your yard into a garden? Some folks would say, I don’t want rows of crops in my yard, and that’s understandable. So why not make raised beds, using wood, bricks, rocks, or another medium, and grow some food in them, mixed with edible flowers? Then you have a nice looking flower garden, that’s also edible.
There is a family in California, that grows roughly 4,000 pounds of food every year in their yard, and they sell the excess to local restaurants after harvesting what they need. At my house, I am turning the entire yard into a garden using raised beds, and vertical gardening techniques.
My yard is 2,000 square feet, and I can grow a lot of food in it during the year. Here is a list of what I have grown so far, and this doesn’t even come close to taking up the entire yard.
- Tomato’s, up to 12 varieties
- Onions and garlic
- Pole beans
- Bush beans
- Blueberries, 2 bushes
- Turnip greens
- Lettuce, 5 varieties
- Figs, one tree
- Pimento peppers
- and about 10 other herbs that I can’t think of the moment.
- Strawberries and several other plants.
Next year, I will have triple the amount of garden space prepared to grow food, using raised beds and vertical gardening.
I believe that every family in the world should be growing at least part of their own food, or taking part in a community garden to help grow food.
Another aspect of gardening is container gardening, which is being used successfully in many food poor countries and regions. Container gardening isn’t done using just flower pots, which many folks in these countries cannot buy, but whatever comes to hand. Flower pots, buckets, trash bags, old tires, old pipes, tire rims, and even old toilets. Anything that can hold dirt, and not become toxic can be used for container gardening.
Look around you. What kind of gardening can you do? Even if you only have a 2 foot square space, that is enough room to grow a tomato plant, a bell pepper plant, and many other vegetables. You could grow a kitchen salad in 2 feet of space that you can harvest and eat all summer.