Gardening – Grow your own

grow-your-own

Grow your own!

As the years have gone by, I have become increasingly aware of how additives and pesticides have an impact on our bodies, along with the nutrient limits that come from some of the conventional growing/farming methods.  For example, Tomatoes are grown outside in direct sunlight have around 300 phytochemicals, many of which help to prevent some cancers, however, those same tomatoes grown in a hot house only have around 55 phytochemicals, due to the glass or plastic interrupting photosynthesis. That is a huge loss of nutrients! and we can see all the time even “well fed” people becoming more and more nutrient and mineral deficient.  So I like many have had an increasing desire to have more control over the quality of the food that my family consumes.

To have better quality food we need to support and pay for organic, but with 7 children and a limited budget, our ability right now to buy everything organic is well out of reach.  You might be in the same boat.  I remember the moment when I was feeling particularly frustrated that my choices for healthy food where limited by my income, which sparked my fight.  You see I have a big character trait of rebellion and some of my personal journey of growth has been to recognise that and use it to my advantage instead of determent.  And at this moment standing in my kitchen feeling hopeless that spirit of rebellion started to stir, and I decided that I was going to rebel again finances being the only way we could have more organic food in our diet and I started to think about ways that we could bring more of the good food into our lives and do the best I could with what I had right now.  So I said to myself;

“right we can’t buy it, but I have dirt, I have hands, and the ability to learn!”, “I can grow my own!”

So that became my goal!

2010 was the first time we had a real veggie garden. We had dabbled a few times in the past, but that year we made a real effort to see what we can do. Like any new and old gardener, we had some successes and some failures. We had great Tomatoes, I rarely brought tomatoes from the store that year, and the ones I did, were not great, so gave up on that idea. Which was better for our health anyway. Carrots, on the other hand, were overtaken with weeds and we ended up losing most of them. One of the things I love about gardening is that everything is a learning experience,

“If something doesn’t go well this year, it’s a lesson for next year.”

The another thing that is really great is the ability to put food in front of my family to eat and know that I am giving them the best that I can. It makes me want to honour the work and effort that was put into growing that food, so when it comes to the kitchen I don’t want to waste it. Everything gets used or it goes into the compost to make more soil and nutritional compost for the garden, ready for next year.

So my goal is a long-range goal.

“To grow as much of our fruits and veggies as we can, each year adding more”

I aim to grow as much of our family food supply as we can, and each year adding more and more. SO in saying that, we live in a suburban rental property, we are lucky enough to have a veggie garden, and fruit trees now that we have planted (they started in pots, and grew just fine). However when we first started this journey our landlord was letting us have a veggie patch which is about all up 8×8 metres maybe more here and there. But that garden bed was not the only thing we are using to grow food. I tried to use up every available space.  We grew Zucchini plants in the flower beds, which worked well and you don’t have to have many plants to get a good crop.

If you are a renter and you think “Oh I would like to grow my own but I don’t know how long we will be at this house”, and don’t want to invest in making a garden only to leave it behind. You are not alone. I started my gardening journey with container gardening, and to this day I still find some of my crops grow better in containers, like Lettuce.

For many years I have grown several different varieties’s of lettuce in containers on my balcony. Cut and come again lettuces variety’s and spinach work great. When you look at the money you can save by just growing your families need for leafy greens, it is well worth your time to at least think about.

We have also started many of dwarf fruit trees in containers, and have several crops from them before having the opportunity to plant them in the ground.

I do also want to add that while we started this growing journey on our own, we quickly found others in our community striving to achieve the same goal of providing better quality food for our families, and they love to share both their knowledge and their produce.  Looking around your community for food co-ops and veggies swoop markets, as well as free fruit collections, where people have fruit trees in their yard but aren’t able to or don’t want to pick the fruit themselves. There are also 100’s of amazing videos on youtube that help to teach you and inspire you to grown in new and creative ways.

Now I realise that we will never be able to have everything,  nor do we want to but what I am finding is that the more of our fruit and vegetables that we can grow, saves us money that we can then spend on good quality foods,  grass fed meat, and other staples in our diet. It’s one step at a time.

Go Organic! Grow your own!

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