Grow your own Organic Vegetables
How we started our organic vegetable garden
About 6 years ago my husband and I started growing our own organic food when we bought a new house. The previous owner was an 81 year old gentleman who had a fantastic vegetable garden on the slope at the back of the house. We needed a bigger garage so the vegetable garden was destroyed by laying drainage pipes and the whole sloped section was just one big mud hole. As we don't have as much time as the retired gentleman, but loved the idea of growing our own organic food so we decided to make a raised bed vegetable garden.
Our vegetable garden has produced way more than we could ever imagine! We learned so much not only about growing our own vegetables but also about organic vegetable gardening, permaculture, eating and preparing healthy quality food, preserving, keeping chickens and much more.
Growing our own food became a lifestyle and proofed to be an interesting and rewarding hobby. I would like to share some of what we learned and who knows, maybe your will discover you have a green thumb too!
All images are from my own from my garden unless stated otherwise.
Bugs and Insects
There are more beneficial insects in your garden than bad ones. When you spray chemicals you kill not only the bad insects, but also the good ones and creating an imbalance! The long term solution is to practice companion planting and attract more beneficial insects to your garden.
Why you should grow your own organic food?
Time vs Benefits
We all have the same problem. There is just not enough time in a day to do everything that needs doing and still have a moment for yourself. Buying your food worked perfectly well until now so why would you want to change that to do something that will create even more work?
Yes, I can just hear your say that as a few years ago that was exactly how I thought. At the time, I thought growing your own food is just for people who are fanatic about their health and the environment. Little did I know how much I was missing out on! Below are some of the benefits you will experience when you and your family start growing your own organic food.
- Most of the produce in the supermarkets are grown for a long shelf life. Unfortunately taste was sacrificed to achieve this longer shelf life.
- With recent food scares, even in dog food from China, it is a good idea to know just where your food is coming from.
- Growing your own food will decrease your carbon footprint. You cannot get more local than your own backyard.
- Your own grown fruit and vegetables will not only be tastier than the ones from the supermarket but it will be as fresh as you want it to be.
- There is some debate around whether or not organic grown food is more nutritious than conventional food. I believe that if you grow food in nutrient rich soil it will most definitely result in more nutritious produce.
- You have a choice of a greater variety of products to grow. There are hundreds of different varieties which are not viable to a commercial grower but can provide your taste buds with pleasant new experiences.
- In the long run it is cheaper to grow your own food and you will almost always have extra to sell, preserve or give away.
- When you grow your own organic food you can avoid eating chemical residues left from sprays of fertilizers and insecticides on commercially grown food.
If you feel the reasons above is not enough to get you out in the garden then how about this: Growing your own food is an excellent opportunity to spend time with your children. Teach them where food comes from and an appreciation for quality food. It is good exercise (no more paying for the gym), improves your balance and relieves stress.
Change the Way You Look at Dirt!
I saw this movie recently when Transition Towns arranged a screening in our town’s cinema. To be honest, I did not expect much from a movie with dirt as a topic but I was pleasantly surprised. Dirt was not only humorous at some places but it was very informative, interesting, and entertaining and kept my attention right to the end.
The movie deals with the relationship between humans and the soil. Divided in three parts it looks at the structure of the soil, show the effects of human mismanagement of soil and look at ways we can improve the soil by using different soil management techniques.
I would say this movie is a must see for everybody. We can only make intelligent decisions about our planets future if we know how what we currently do effect the environment we life in. This is an inspiring movie. It changed the way I look at dirt, made me think and moved me to action.
Have you seen Dirt! The Movie ?
Chemical Residues on our Food
How do you feel about consuming chemical residues from inceticedes and herbicides with the food we eat?
Organic vegetables in abundance - What to do with surplus fruit and vegetables
Once you start growing your own organic fruit and vegetables you will most probably soon be in a situation where you have produced more fresh produce than what you and your family can eat. Here are a few ideas of what you can do with the surplus.
Raised Bed Gardeing - Books and Kits
- Dry surplus fruit and herbs in a food dehydrator.
- Make delicious preserves.
- Make your own jam.
- Sell the surplus at your garden gate.
- Have a stall at the farmers market.
- Share with the neighbours.
- Exchange your surplus produce with local growers in you area for some of their products.
- Donate to a foodbank.
- Donate to a resthome
- Some can be used as seeds for next season
is the secret to a productive vegetable garden
Jobs for a rainy day - Dedicated to my grandmother who is 99 this year
This morning we woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. It is a welcome sound as the bush is very dry and risk of bush fires high, but it also means that we won't be spending much time outside today.
I always think of my grandmother when it is raining. She lived with us when we were children. We lived in a region where there were usually water restrictions in place for most of the summer months. We did not have a big water tank to catch rainwater but my grandmother always had buckets and containers under all the downpipes around the house to catch and save as much of "God's water" as she could. I remember her doing this well into her eighties. So my fist job for you, if it is raining and you do not have a rainwater tank, is to put containers under the downpipes and catch as much rainwater as you can. If you are lucky enough to live in region with enough water, use the rainwater to water your potted plants!
Here are more things a gardener can do on a rainy day.
- Check your to-do list, if you have one, and see which of your jobs can be done on a rainy day. If you do not have a to-do for your garden jobs, start one.
- Check your garden tools. If any of the tools needs cleaning, sharpening or fixing today would be a good time to do it. Service the lawnmower.
- Check your seed collection. Prepare seed trays and sow ones that can be sown. If you do not have your own seeds, it may be a good time to do some research on seed saving for next season. Saving seeds and growing food from your own seeds can save you a lot of money.
- Find a new recipe for a preserve, jam or dish to make from produce that may soon be ready for picking.
- Make a givebasket with some of your garden produce, home made jams or preserves and visit an elderly person, somebody who lives alone or who are sick to brighten their day.
- Have you noticed any pests or insects in the vegetable garden or fruit trees? If so, do you know how to treat the problem? If not, do research on how to solve the problem. Look at recipes for home made organic sprays and companion planting.
- Tidy up the garden shed.
- Ok, so you have done all of the above and it is still raining. Make a cup of tea or coffee, put your feet up and enjoy the rain!
Organoponico - Organic gardens - The Cuban Way
About 90 % of Havanas food is grown in Organoponico (Organic Urban Garden)
Do you like growing your own vegetables? How do you feel about the chemical residues in our food? Do you have any tips for new gardeners? How do your fit growing your own vegetables into an already busy day? Have this lense inspire you to start growing your own vegetables?