With today's emphasis on reducing packaging waste, 100-mile diets, supporting local food producers and such, it's easy to think that bringing your own bags to the Farmer's Market or looking for local labels at the grocery store is the only way to go. Not true, my friends. Local food can be closer than you think: it's in your own backyard, literally.
If you have a green thumb, or even if you don't, container gardening is a convenient, easy way to bring local food home. With just a few pots, some seeds or starter plants and a little TLC you can have fresh, organic veggies at your doorstep and on your table with a minimum of work. In our effort to lead by example, and with the blessing of the powers that be, we here at the Nature Centre decided to see what could be grown in a too-overgrown-and-awkward-for-a-proper-garden space.
In our 6 x 9 feet of "useable" space, we put in a 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 foot raised bed and three tire planters. Two of the tires wound up not being planted due to time constraints, the third had both a zucchini and pole beans in it. In our raised bed, we had a salad garden. We planted 2 tomato plants, radishes, multiplier onions, basil, carrots and lettuce. The garden was largely neglected, due to summer being one of our busiest seasons, but it held it's own. The basil was large and smelled fantastic, the tomatoes put out lots of blooms (but unfortunately, not many tomatoes as was the case for a lot of gardens this year), the radishes worked to protect the carrots and lettuce and the onions were crisp and spicy. The zucchini and pole beans grew very large, very fast, then put out flowers and left it at that. (I had the same thing happen in my garden this year- lots of zucchini flowers but no zucchini squash. Strange.)
We had a bountiful harvest out of this little garden despite this year's awkward growing season. Take a look at the pictures- they speak for themselves. Everything but the carrots has been harvested now that the frost has come and it's time for the garden to rest. I'm already looking forward to next year.