Anyone who eats has probably noticed that this pastime is getting more costly. A stroll through the grocery aisle or a night out is less of a casual affair these days.
It turns out that one of the most rebellious acts against such wallet tyranny is to plant seeds. No matter the size of your yard or the green-ness of your thumb, everyone can grow food – even if it’s not a garden’s worth. There are plenty of ways to root and shoot.
Regardless of available soil, there are creative means to find garden space. Apartment dwellers can take advantage of their unit’s solar exposure or lack thereof, planting cool-loving greens such as kale, spinach and parsley, or heat seekers like cucumbers, basil and tomatoes.
Using vertical space will make the most of small growing areas – using a trellis for vining plants and or a barrel for potatoes. Cooler balconies and porches can host a worm bin even in the summertime, offering incredible worm casting tea to fertilize your growing pantry.
Thinking outside the yard might also expand your farmy endeavours. Community gardens are cropping up in all kinds of places and unlike the long waiting lists in big cities, you might find a last minute bid for a bed in qathet successful.
Neighbours can collaborate as well, each growing different veggies for exchange to minimize the garden footprint while maximizing the harvest. Some folks are even revisiting the neighbour gate between yards to facilitate these kinds of community and soil building ventures.
Access to seeds and starts might be the impasse to some newbie or late-to-the-garden-gate growers. With Seedy Saturday in the rearview mirror, there are still other ways to acquire community grown, locally resilient seeds.
Seed Traders of qathet social media group facilitates the sharing of seeds in the region. Friends who garden will inevitably have a few seeds kicking around and are usually more than excited to share their growing know-how. In fact, be prepared to stay awhile when you go over to pick them up. More experienced gardeners can get into plant splitting, like comfrey root balls and raspberry canes or even fruit tree grafts.
Fruit trees and berry bushes produce an abundant harvest once they get going – often more than a household can manage and too tempting for bears if left unpicked. Come harvest time, you might find you can assist in the plunder without ever having had to prune branches, water or rake leaves. Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative facilitates such exchanges, matching gleaners with owners – a third of the harvest going to the owner, a third to the volunteer, and the finally third to a local charity. Connect with them at gleaners@SkookumFood.ca.
Feeding growing greens and berries needn’t cost more than your time and a little know-how. Backyard composting can be as simple as a wire bin – essentially a coiled piece of six-foot high and long chicken wire or the like held in place by a few stakes, which can double as pile aerators when placed on the diagonal.
Open-sourced plans for converting a decommissioned freezer into a fast-acting composter are also available through LetsTalkTrash.ca.
The indoor-outdoor method of Bokashi fermentation is a great option for those with a smaller garden and the will to do the minimal bit of chopping and sprinkling of an infused wheat germ through the indoor part of the process. The compost tea you are rewarded with makes these efforts well worth it.
Gardens reward the grower at every phase – skip the gym membership and lift a few wheelbarrows of soil, enjoy the Vitamin D boost of being under the sun, and experience the deep nourishment of ingredients grown outside your doorstep.
Whoever said money doesn’t grow on trees could be eating their words.
Let’s Talk Trash is contracted by qathet Regional District to deliver its waste reduction education program. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.