Abundant Food in Tiny Gardens
You’ve seen the tiny houses, as people downsize, to save on mortgage bills and to make a smaller footprint on the earth.
Well, that concept could also apply to gardening. Some predictions say food will become increasingly scarce, causing us to rethink our sources, to be more local and home grown. Just think of going out to your porch or patio and picking fresh lettuce, ripe strawberries and delicious tomatoes every day.
It really doesn’t take much space to grow your own, to supplement what you get from the store or from your pantry. Rice and beans, while sustaining, can become dull. As people grow restless with the sequestering, they also grow bored with their lack of food variety, tempting them to “go out to eat”. Plants grow, like hair and nails, naturally. They just need good soil, nutrients, regular watering, and love.
Here are some suggestions for growing your own food, even in tiny spaces:
- Patio Food: Put plants in tubs or window boxes. We have strawberries in pots to give us fresh fruit every morning all summer. And lettuce and peas and pak choy! Yummmmm. And the spinach we planted in tubs last fall lasted all winter into spring, giving us deep green, “happy” leaves. They go in salads, lasagna, soups, and rice ‘n’ beans! These containers are portable gardens that can be moved around for best sun exposure.
- Hydroponic/Tower Gardens: Start a hydroponic garden (growing plants in a soil-less, cultivation by putting the roots in nutritional water.) A friend has tilapia fish in hers. They fertilize the plants and provide fresh fish for dinner. I use the Juice Plus Tower Garden, (https://www.towergarden.com/) which grows a wide variety from cucumbers, yellow squash, peppers, lettuce, kale, to tomatoes and even acorn squash. (I haven’t tried pumpkins yet!) These vertical towers are used throughout Europe; they’re about 20 inches in width and use very little water. It’s fun to go out and pick your organic and delicious dinner from the tower! Depending on your space and exposure, you can have 3-4 of these, and some last all winter. Some restaurants grow their fresh greens in them, taking little space and water while providing organic freshness.
- Soaking Seeds: An alternative source of food is to soak any RAW dried bean, pea, nut or seed. It thinks it’s time to sprout and changes its entire chemistry – mild-mannered Clark Kent to SUPERMAN! The fat turns to fatty acid, the carbs to protein, enzymes and amino acids. It “pre-digests”, making it very easy to assimilate and eliminate! Soak them overnight in a jar, with a screen or strainer to pour off the water. Soaked lentils go well in salad or just as a snack. Also try raw sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. The best, for me, is almonds. Which need about 12 hours to soak. The tannin in the skin blocks calcium absorption in the stomach, so put the almonds in boiling water after soaking for 35 SECONDS to allow you to easily husk the skins off.
- Starting seeds: If you have a grow-light, you can start seeds indoors earlier than you can plant them outside. Plant seeds in potting soil and keep them warm and moist. Place beans and peas on a small dish between two paper towels and keep them moist until you see them sprout. Just be sure to water them every day.
- Garden space in your yard: If you have enough room, put in a few raised beds. They keep the weeds and most critters out. Here’s where you can grow root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. Have you ever looked in the pantry only to see your potatoes have grown sprouts? Plant them! In your raised bed, in a garbage can with holes in the sides and bottom, or in a pot. As they grow, continue to add soil and they’ll make even more potatoes. There are little tents that go over frames that act as greenhouses. Or cover hoops with netting or plastic to protect plants from deer and cold. A friend builds raised beds with cold-frame sides, extending the growing season well into the late fall and early spring.
- Share your wealth: If you have a lot of lettuce and your neighbor has an apple tree, you can expand your variety by sharing what you have an abundance of in exchange for your neighbor’s abundance. Like food coops, truck farming and victory gardens, we have local options to increase our food supply. Remember the song, “I’ve got a brand-new pair of roller skates; you’ve got a brand-new key”!
It’s essential that we rethink our food supply and its nutrition as the issues — changing economics, pandemic, climate shift, mass involuntary migrations, etc. – are compounded by their interrelatedness. What was a luxury becomes a necessity if we are to thrive together.
Tipping Point: The Coronavirus Pandemic
Tipping Point: The Coronavirus Pandemic