Growing Our Own Food

| May 13, 2008 | 6 Comments

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?

Category: Eating Locally, Homecooking, Gardening

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer who loves to create delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together. Her work has appeared in countless publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Maine with her two food-loving kids.

Comments (6)

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  1. Andrea says:

    What great timing for this post! I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” recently and it has inspired me to start paying more attention to where my food is coming from and how it’s grown. If you haven’t read her book yet, I’d highly recommend it.

    I think it’s definitely time that people started to be more conscious about their food and their consumption of it. It can be a lot of work to grown your own food and it can be really frustrating trying to stick to local and seasonal foods all year round (thank goodness for farmer’s markets!), but it’s well worth it.

    P.S. I’ve never commented here before, but I’ve been reading for several months now and love your blog! Thanks for all the great recipe ideas :)

  2. We’re right there with you. On Mother’s Day weekend, we planted our first vegetables for the season, and we’re putting together herb pots this weekend, along with a compost pile. Baby steps…

  3. Tonia says:

    We’ve planted our own veggies this year and I am planning to do some herbs as well. It really makes me feel good to know we are relying on ourselves. Our country is well on its way toward a recession, so we all need to do what we can to become more self-sufficient.

    Great post!

  4. Sarah Caron says:

    Andrea, thanks! That is on my reading list for this summer. I can’t wait to check it out.

    Cate, I’m trying to decide whether we should build a compost box or buy one. What are you doing?

    Tonia, I totally agree. Self-sufficiency is so important at a time like this.

  5. Jenny says:

    Good luck! I look forward to seeing pictures showing the progress.

  6. Sarah Caron says:

    Thanks, Jenny! I’ll be posting an update soon.

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