Growing the Garden

While I was never a prepper, I was always appreciative of self sufficiency. I have long recognized the freedom that comes with growing your own food.

Plus it was a lifestyle I loved.

For 16 years we lived in small log house on 60 acres. We had a wood cookstove and large vegetable and fruit gardens that grew bigger with each passing year. We kept milk goats, chickens and bees.

Six years ago we moved into town and now here we are, living in a city during a pandemic. As Alanis Morrisette sang, “And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

Yeah, I really do think.

Even so, though I truly miss the country life, I am not going prepper/hoarder/head-for-the-hills crazy. I continue to believe in humanity and our ability to unite and adapt to our circumstances and not only survive, but thrive. Everything will be okay in the end, and if it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.

I also recognize how privileged we are to live in a country like Canada.

However, I do think the pandemic has exposed problems in our food supply chain and highlighted more than ever the importance of supporting local farmers, markets and ranchers instead of a handful of massive processors. We have put way too many eggs in way too few baskets and this has been a wake up call that will serve us well going forward.

Instead of panicking about global food shortages or lining up at Costco, this is a time to reach out and commit to supporting our local producers, now and in the future. Prepare to be impressed with what has been available all along in our own backyards!

Speaking of backyards, I am also heartened by the surge of recent interest in gardening. I look forward to having even more fellow gardeners to exchange tips with in the Peace Country and beyond.

This year I have set a challenge for myself to grow the same amount of vegetables on our small city lot, as I did when we lived on the farm. Not because I think we are going to starve without it, but because I am curious to see if it can be done. Also, there is nothing that helps me achieve mental health more than time spent in a garden. And it is a great place to practice social distancing while getting some much needed exercise and fresh air.

This means saying farewell to a lawn altogether and having a backyard that is pretty much fence-to-fence raised beds.

Here’s a photo of our five brand-new yet-to-be-filled 4 x 8 foot beds.

Good Lord. Looking at this picture, the whole yard looks a bit horrific. Only a gardener could see the beauty in it. Or understand how I envision it already filled with vegetables, trellises, neat paths and painted wood, instead of a trampled mud bog of a mess. But such is life. A series of messes, with some dreams sprinkled in to keep us going along.

Anyway, these new beds are in addition to two 4 x 16 foot beds, one 2 x 24 foot bed, one 3 x 32 foot bed, one 3 x 20 foot bed and the three stock trough beds that were already in place from last year. We’ll see how it goes.

The front yard will continue to be a potager garden of sorts, with a bow to beauty as well as a bit of food production. There are lots of perennials and shrubs for curb appeal, but once again, I plan to tuck in things like rainbow chard, purple cabbage, lettuces, potatoes, herbs and what-have-you as food filler.

Where there’s a will there’s a way and where there’s soil, there’s always abundant opportunity for hope and growth. And with time, much beauty.

Keep hopeful, keep growing and keep safe.

Peace