The price of baby food – the organic, affordable food that Paige eats – jumped 10 cents. Sugar has more than doubled in price for our small town. Gas is teetering on $4 a gallon. I talked about my fears last week . . . and they only seem to intensify as the days pass. Food is getting more expensive. Fuel is getting more expensive too. It’s frightening.
But this week, I want to get beyond the fear to the solutions.
This year, we will begin growing our own food. I’ve tried in the past without success, but after three years of experimenting, I think I am ready to really settle in and make it work. And for the first time, my husband believes that we need to as well.
We’re not alone in this quest. Urban farming is taking cities by storm. In New York, it’s caught the attention of the New York Times. It’s time that suburban farming made its comeback too. Connecticut used to be a mecca of farmland. These days, the houses still sit on two and three acres in many areas, but those acres are perfectly manicured lawns and sparkling blue pools. The potential for people in Connecticut to take back the land for sustainable home farming is tremendous. And just imagine what benefits it would have on the environment if we all farmed just a little corner of our land . . . The plan is simple:
1) Design and build raised beds for the vegetable garden. Install in the far, unused portion of our back yard. The designing portion of this is done. I am planning on 4’x8′ boxes (3-4 of them) that will be lined with that black garden fabric. We will install an inexpensive garden fencing for now to protect the garden from animals, pests, etc. I will be bringing in screened soil to fill the boxes because my home is built on a former rock quarry (I kid you not).
2) Plant tomato starters (the tomato plants that are already growing) and a variety of seeds for radishes, beets, spinach, cucumbers, peppers, basil, carrots and more. Some fruits too. Use organic fertilizing methods and ensure a chemical free planting environment.
3) Start a compost pile to create nutrient-rich soil at home to mix in with the bed soil.
4) Design and implement a rainwater collection system to sustainably keep the garden watered.
5) Regularly weed, water and care for the fruits and vegetables in the garden.
6) Can and/or freeze excess produce for winter.
This plan gives me some sense of relief. If my family could do it one hundred years ago, so can I today.
What are your thoughts on urban and suburban farming? Should people start growing some of their own food again?