Ever since I can remember, my parents had a vegetable garden. A big one. My dad grew almost everything he could that suited our climate: peas, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, onions, lettuce, corn, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, blueberries, strawberries, potatoes, and of course, the raspberries that grow like weeds here.
Did we live on a farm? Nope. Just a house in the suburbs with a regular size lot and a big deck. My mom froze and canned all summer and it was years before I actually tasted a frozen pea that wasn’t home grown. And then suddenly, I understood why other kids hated vegetables. It was nasty.
My parents were doing the “buy locally” thing long before it was popular – going out to the Fraser Valley to the local farms for veggies they didn’t grow and buying a side of beef and freezing it.
That was all a long time ago and these days, my dad lives with me and he still gardens. He has tomato plants in pots on the upstairs and downstairs decks, potatoes growing out of pots in the shade of the lower deck, a little salad garden by the back door with different varieties of lettuce and green onions, chives, and cherry tomatoes. He has scarlet runner beans climbing the side fence mixed in with my wall of sweet peas and more tomatoes growing in amongst my giant marigolds. And out back he still has his peas and beans and ground crawlers like squash, zucchinis and cukes.
On my deck outside the kitchen, I have a little herb garden with mint, cilantro, oregano, thyme etc. Fresh and ready to snip with a pair of scissors when I want some for dinner.
A few blocks away, the city just started a new community garden with about 20 10×10 plots… it filled up instantly and there’s now a waiting list.
Fresh can’t be beat. The flavour, the crispness, the warmth. A vine ripened tomato still warm from the sun and smelling like a tomato. I used to eat them like apples. Ok, I still eat them like apples… hehe.
The Plant One Challenge
This weekend my design company launched a site refresh for a client and friend in Ontario, just outside of Toronto. It’s mainly a blog, chronicling his steps towards living a more sustainable life in an urban setting, including embracing urban agriculture. I believe so much in what he is trying to do that I wanted to share his “Plant One” Challenge with all of you.
The Challenge? To plant one vegetable. Just one. In your backyard, on your deck, in a pot or planter or in little plot of land. If you already do have a garden of some fashion, plant one new variety. I think it’s a wonderful idea and I hope you will all go visit him at SustainMe and check it out and join in. I know he’d love to hear from you and your progress.
My selection this year is basil. It’s difficult to grow outdoors here but I’m going to give it a go because I love it so much. And also dill, which grows like a weed. hehe.
So go ahead – Join The Challenge!