It’s a cold, dreary day in the City today. The raindrops on the windows give little indication of the 80 degree weather that we had ealier in the week. But, despite the windy, 40 degree day – there are plants growing in the garden!
While our backyard garden is tiny compared to the garden that Maggie kept on her Missouri farm, or the farm that my family in Texas has, we will enjoy picking our tomatos and peppers in the summer. I remember heading out to the garden in the evening growing up in Texas and picking handfuls of banana peppers to eat with dinner. It always made dinner and adventure as some were spicy and some were not and we never know which ones were which. And my grandmother used to tell stories about how she would pick bushel baskets full of tomatos to take into the market to sell with her father.
And though we’re not gardening on that scale by any means, a garden the city can be just as rewarding. There is something refreshing and fulfilling about eating something that you grew yourself and that you just picked off the vine. Factor in the cost savings of not buying produce at the market, and the added nutrients that are present in eating a vegetable that is ripe and was not picked early for transportation to the grocery store, and it’s definitely worth the effort. So far we’ve put out lettuce, peas and chives, basil, cilantro, nasturtium, and impatients.
It’s even possible if you don’t have a backyard. Window boxes and containers on a stoop or balcony can yield more than you might think. And it can all be extremely inexpensive, especially if you start everything from seeds rather than buying established plants. We have tomatos, cucumbers, and peppers srpouting above the raditator on the window sill (I used the ice cube trays out of the freezer to start the seeds in). I’ll transplant them outdoors when they are big enough, but they could easily go into a container as well.
I’m interested in reading this book – Your Farm in the City: An Urban-Dweller’s Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals. It covers container gardening, starting from seeds, as well as urban farm animals. I’d love to have chickens. But, that’s a little way down the road. For now I’ll settle for enjoying digging in the dirt with the kids, watching our seeds grow, and eating our produce.
There will be more to come on this post as the garden grows. So stay tuned….
Well, our outdoor garden plot in the backyard didn’t last long. I found it too stessful trying to keep little feet from stepping on plants. We’re trying window boxes this year. Here’s some pictures of our start.
Urban Gardening Resources:
Your Farm in the City is a good book if you have a bit of ground in your backyard.
If all you’ve got is a balcony or window I’ve found Container Gardening helpful for determining what plants go well together and for what will grow in sun, shade or indoors. This book has a good list of plants in the back with plant names, pictures and suggested care.
I’ve enjoyed having flower beds to tinker in the last five years. And oh boy, have I learned a lot more than when I posted the photos above. Even to the point of teaching an elementary Botany class to homeschoolers.
Below is a list of my gardening related posts. And watch for an online Botany class coming next year!
If you want to see what I’m growing lately, look out the Kitchen Window to see what’s growing in my garden.