There are many ways to grow your own food without a lot of space and without getting dirty.
Home gardening is not only fun, but it makes sense in a world where you don’t know how safe your food is. I just read an article on “fraudulent economically motivated adulteration” in our food sources. In English this means “putting crap and fake or chemically made fillers in your food without telling you and passing it off as something else in order to make more money off of you”. This goes on all the time (I had never heard of it). The “Food Fraud Database” is a not-for-profit organization where you can see all the instances of fraudulent food and the specifics of what was used as a filler. When I searched “olive oil” I got 10 pages of instances. (The site is free and the searches are free. You can sign up for free to get access to other areas of the site) Products labeled “100% pure olive oil” were mixed with hazelnut, corn, soybean, sunflower and other oils, and some of them were colored with beta carotene to get an authentic color.
The point is, large mega producers will feed you crap to make a buck. But you don’t have to put up with it!
When eating healthy foods you should always eat as close to the source as possible which means little or no processing. You should also eat organic with no waxes or chemicals sprays on the vegetables to prevent “budding”. (Let this adorable little girl explain that to you) What better way to eat healthy than to grown your own…organically!
Gardens are also great for small children to show them that food doesn’t come from the grocery store and studies show that kids who are involved in the gardening process are more likely to eat their veggies.
There are some new and very innovative ways to grow your own food without using a shovel. Hydroponics is one.
A couple I know who own Flat Rock Koi Farm in Georgia sells a hydroponic system (growing plants with water) that you attach to a fish pond. Fish poop makes the best fertilizer! The plants are constantly fed this fertilized water through a constant flow system. You wouldn’t believe the size of the plants they produce!
Vicki and her husband Carl breed fish, so they have many fish ponds. The system they invented to grow food and other plants uses the flow of their pond water. Growing vegggies in fish waste water will give you amazingly LARGE food with very little effort.
They have since patented the system and you can buy one if you like. Here is their facebook page for more info.
If you don’t have a pond, don’t worry! There are many home hydroponics systems that you can place on your deck or patio. General Hydroponics is one company that offers many options for growing your own food without soil. These systems look very easy to set up and maintain. This would be a good option for city dwellers with limited space.
And if you are a “do-it-yourselfer” there are plenty of websites that can show you how to put together a perfect hydroponic system using plastic tubs and pipes from any local hardware and “stuff-mart” store. This is a good one.
There are more and more hydroponics farms popping up. Like this “garden in the sky”. A company, Bright Farms, will transform the roof of an old Navy warehouse in Brooklyn New York into a soil-free hydroponic garden to grow vegetables for market sales. Now that’s using your noodle!
I am conducting a little gardening experiment myself that I heard of. It’s called “straw bale gardening”. You use a bale of wheat straw as your planting medium. You don’t need any dirt as you plant directly into the straw. The bale has to be “conditioned” first by either watering for 3 weeks (organic way) or by pouring fertilizer on the bale (fast way). The straw starts to break down and form a compost thereby enriching the plants that grow there. You can use the bale for 2 years, then it becomes compost for other areas of your garden and you get a new bale. Here’s a great site that explains it all step by step.
This would work well in limited space areas. I heard of this idea from a co-worker of my husbands, and I knew I wanted to do it when he would bring bags of delicious tomatoes home from work and he said they came from just one plant!
I plan on growing purple tomatoes(I am told they are lower acid), red peppers, summer squash and lettuce. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I’m not sure what my neighbors think of all of this, but maybe I can quiet them with some homegrown veggies.
Don’t let the excuse of “I don’t have enough space” stop you from growing your own food this year. It really is the healthiest way to feed your body, and it’s fun!
E-mail me with pictures of your home grown veggies…however you decide to grow them!
Update: June 22. Next year I am going down the entire row with straw bales. I will encircle the bales with Amdro(or similar) pellets to keep ants out, and i will be more diligent about non-chemicla spraying (castile soap and neem oil to keep pests out…not sure it works for caterpillars though)