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Times When Smaller IS Better

My husband’s grandmother had an acre garden. She fed her large extended family and a good bit of the neighborhood out of that garden.

When I told my husband I wanted to start growing food he immediately thought of Nanny and plowed me up an acre. Sometimes having a lot of land is not a good thing. An acre is way too much for a beginner! We didn’t get much out of that plot except weeds and frustration.

Nanny grew up knee-high to a grasshopper following her mother and father as they planted, tended, and harvested, just like their parents had before them. So by the time Nanny reached adulthood, she could easily manage a huge garden. But her kids and grandkids focused on t.v., cars, college, and the modern world. We are at least two generations away from the knowledge of how to live off the land.

Tip #1 – Start Small

A good size for a beginner in a backyard is a 4’x12.5’ bed that amounts to 50 square feet. Even a smaller 4’x4’ bed is good. If you live in an apartment, start with a few potted plants. Perhaps on a balcony or near a window with good light as we talked about in my first article ‘The Power of Herb”. Each season you can expand and add another bed as your experience and interest grows.

A really good resource for small gardens is Mel Bartholomew’s book on “Square Foot Gardening” available almost everywhere. I refer to this book frequently and Mel really shows you how to start small.

Growing you own food is the cornerstone of a sustainable lifestyle and offers you the possibility of real health, true freedom, and deep healing. Since it also can be a very difficult journey I’ll be providing you with continual encouragement and support in the upcoming articles.

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This post was written by Marjory

COMMENTS(0)

  • Bazza says:

    I was born just after the second world war and when about three years old was introduced to home vegetable gardening as it was the only way that my family was able to afford a good, wholesome and healthy diet.

    In my early years I cannot recall a house in our neighbourhood that did not have a vegetable garden and the lucky ones also had a henhouse.

    Today if I go back to that area there are very few houses with vegetable gardens and although it could be considered a lower social economic area there does not seem to be the same pride in growing vegetables by the past two generations and there was in the late forties and probably through to the seventies.

    Too many people of today are happy to purchase low quality food with a poor nutrition count that will ultimately lead to health issues later in life.

    My wife and I have a very large vegetable garden and we also grow fruit trees, grapes, various bramble berries, strawberries as well as some other fruits which are used to make jellies, jams and a variety of other items.

    We supply members of our families who live in the city with our home grown produce and for that they are grateful to get good quality food.

    I cannot understand why any person with a reasonable sized yard will not turn it into an area where they can grow vegetables and fruit to enable them to have good quality food as not only is the nutritional value better for them but the monetary saving is well worth having.

    Where we live water, the availability or lack of, decides just what we are able to grow on an annual basis and whether or not you believe in climate change we now consider it great if we can get three good seasons out of five because of the changes we have seen in rainfall patterns over the past ten to 12 years.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Bazza,

      You are lucky to have the background and the current situation. I couldn’t agree more about why would anyone continue to buy cheap food that makes you sick when you have a backyard and a hose?

      You are also right that water is a much bigger issue than most of us realize.

      concerning global climate change? I am not sure. Are humans affecting the planet Absolutely! I did a New York to San Fran flight recently and could clearly see the only land that was not in human production was because it was too rough or too dry.

      Regardless of what anyone belives about climate change – the fact is that weather patterns are changing, storms are increasing in intensity and frequency, and as home gardeners we need to be super resiliant.

      Whew, wish us all luck!

      Thanks for your post.

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