A few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to try to eat more locally grown foods. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how big an impact my food footprint has on my total carbon footprint. As we know, most food in the grocery store is flown in from all over the world. For me, it is very difficult to find even a few items produced locally, let alone in my province. Realizing this, I started shopping at the Farmer’s Market, where I could buy my food from the very farmer who grew it. I later did some research, and found a local dairy supplier, wine supplier, beer supplier, and most importantly (yes – even more important than the beer and wine) a local flour supplier. Eating local feels really good, it feels like I am helping farmers, the food is fresher, and yes, it tastes better.
As I continued on thinking about local food, I realized that because I live in a northern climate, it would be impossible to eat locally year round, without some careful planning, preserving and storage. Food available summer must be preserved for winter. You can freeze it, can it, dehydrate it or put it in a root cellar. I was inspired by people living here, in my cold city, who grow enough food in their backyards to last them all winter. This can be done. People do this. Maybe I can do it too?
So I decided to grow a vegetable garden. Not just a few tomatoes, but a whole big garden, with potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumber, squash, beans and peas. I want to grow enough tomatoes to preserve tomato sauce all winter, enough onions that will last through the winter, and a pile of carrots that will get me through at least until fall. I want to freeze some peas and beans, I want to store some potatoes and beets, and I want to eat fresh salads all summer. Can I do it?
Well it starts with these guys:
They are officially one month old today – my assortment of tomatoes and peppers. It is exciting to watch them change day by day, how some varieties started out slow but have now surged ahead, and how I am able to now discern differences in the foliage in the varieties, being able to pick out a variety from a line up, even at this young age. When I first transplanted them from their little pods to their pots, they looked so grown up, standing tall all by themselves. I am proud of my plant babies.
These guys were just recently started. Here we have parsley, mint, basil, oregano and lettuce:
So far, so good. However, I have a secret fear of failure in this venture. How can I grow food for myself? Doesn’t it require some kind of magical skill? I started this process knowing absolutely nothing, and here I am a couple of months later growing 48 seedlings… Can I even pull this off?
I really hope so. I really want to grow an actual real garden, to feed my family, to feed myself, to feed my soul.
Grow, little plant babies. Grow.