Urban Farming…..part 2

I love the idea of growing my own food. I love the idea of being self sufficient. In a dream world, I would live in the middle of nowhere with huge property and animals and grow everything and be self sustaining…..and, it’s a lovely dream, but not really my reality.

And in all honesty, our last move nearly destroyed the tenuous grip that I have on reality and I have no intentions of moving again, until I “HAVE TO”…..

And so then, I do the best I can with what I have.

Gardening or farming seems to be my blood….we have generations going back on both sides of my family that were incredible gardeners or farmers….and I think that one of my relatives worked in Queen Victoria’s Gardens…..or something like that. I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember how cool I thought it was when I saw the picture and heard the story…now I wish I had paid more attention.

My parents had a HUGE flower garden when I was growing up, but not veggies…..Although now, they have a HUGE veggie garden on my sister’s acreage.

When we were living in Abbotsford, in the early 2000’s, I started a garden in my backyard. The first year it was incredible but the next few years were busy and stressful and it was never quite as amazing as that first year.

We moved from Abbotsford to Langley and bought a townhome and there was really no place to garden. But when we bought our current place, even though the yard was smaller than I had hoped….I was so excited to be able to garden again.

I started researching container gardening and square foot gardening and came across vertical gardening….and well, here I am.

This is our third summer here and my garden is the biggest it’s ever been and I have visions of even greater harvest for next year (much to Jon’s dismay because I keep enroaching on the sacred yard space).

I’m all about using space creatively and beautifully. I love to mix flowers in with my veggies and fruit. I LOVE seeing the space start as a dry and dirty space and becoming a lush green oasis.

In the last post, I was talking about my triangle shaped garden area….I managed to share what was inside of that space, and I’d like to share about the outside of that space now.

Last year, I got 4 tires and planted potatoes inside of one and as soon as it overgrew the first tire, I stacked a second and then a third and a fourth….We managed to get 6 pounds of potatoes from that stack of tires, and I’m sure I could have gotten more, but I stacked the tires and planted some bulbs in them….you can see a glimpse of the tires in the left side of this picture….but there are about 10 lavender plants that I grew from seed last year in this one pot. I desperately need to rehome them to different places around my garden because I’m sure they are nice and root bound now….But I’m looking forward to lots of lavender over the next few years.

Urban Farming

To the right of the lavender are some baby Echinacea plants, that are being cuddled by the chives in a neighboring pot. Herbs for cooking and for medicinal purposes is a passion of mine and so I keep adding different herbs as I find them….I was ever so excited to be stung by a Stinging Nettle in my garden as I poked around last year. I repotted the baby plant and it’s grown nicely and I’ve been able to dry some for tea…..I love that I was able to obtain a plant for free that I have been purchasing dried to use for tea; and to be able to dry it and store it for myself. I’m saving money and I know where and how it was grown and how it was dried. That’s a win/win, as far as I’m concerned.

Urban Farming

To the right of the Echinecea and chives, is a container with Rhubarb in it. I just transplanted the Rhubarb this year from my front yard. It wasn’t too happy in its prior space but apparently being knocked around and dumped out of the container twice before actually settling in was exactly what is needed. It has sprung out of control. I have some amazing memories of eating Rhubarb from my Aunty Ruth’s house and dipping it in sugar. After the Rhubarb settled and started thriving, I was surprised to find both a nasturtium and a tomatoe plant growing in the pot. Both are carryover’s from last years garden when the plants reseeded themselves. It’s always fun to see what shows up where.

Urban Farming

Right next to the Rhubarb, is a narrow planter that I brought from our town house. It has Spearmint from my Mother-in-law, next to some lily bulbs and then Catmint (also known as Catnip). Cat Mint is an herb used for many different medicinal purposes, nit just for drugging your cat…..although the Cat Mint plant is typically the first place that our cat stops when we heads on down to our yard.

Urban Farming

If you were standing facing the Cat Mint bush, and you turned directly around, you’d see my staircase of herbs…..I originally bought 5 colored containers – red, orange, yellow, green and blue….and nailed the bottom into the stairs, but the blue one broke and has been replaced with the lovely grey one, on the bottom step. Starting from the top, in the red container I have Sage, then Parsley, Lemon Balm, Peppermint and Chocolate mint. The two square containers on the inside of the steps also have peppermint and chocolate mint. Mostly because I don’t think you can have too much peppermint…and the chocolate mint was all root bound.

Urban Farming

If you turned back around towards the Cat mint bush and looked to your right, you’d see my overwhelming Tomatoe Forrest. I have approximately 14 tomatoe plants potted in 7 containers. Again, they are either suckers or from last years re-seed. Behind them, I have a HUGE varigated Sage plant, more Oregano, more Cosmos (a flower) and an older lavender plant.

Urban Farming

In the bottom right of the last picture, you can see two yellow containers. One of those containers has2 plants of HOT Chili Peppers and the other has 2 plants of Kung Pao Chili Peppers. I got a ton from my plants last year and dried them in my dehydrator and have used them over this entire last year. I still have a few left and should make it until these ones are ready for harvest. I LOVE that I haven’t had to buy any spicy Chili Pepper flakes because I grew my own…..how cool is that. An entire year’s worth, from my own backyard……YAY!

With our family of 7, we make a weekly run to the veggie market. Depending on what we need, we could spend between 50-100$. It’s crazy. I think we’ve gone 2, maybe 3 times this summer. That seems crazy to me, but it’s true…..and AMAZING!!!!

I’ll carry on with part 3 and the canter section of my yard, in the next post. Do you have any questions? I could try to answer them, if you do….although being honest, my philosophy is “Plant the seeds, Water them, and Trust it will work.” So, no big secrets here…….

Author: Patricia Culley

I'm the ringmaster of my own circus. Just trying to stay one step ahead of the monkeys.

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