Admittedly, I am a crazy person. The further I get into this Paleo world (over 5 years as of this post), the more paranoid I become about Big Business trying to poison us all. I heard the other day that 80% of foods in the US listed as organic are not organic, and that most come from China which is heavily polluted with things like arsenic. AGH! We do not eat all organic, but I do buy organic when the price is reasonable and we can afford it. I’ll be pissed if I’m not getting what I pay for.
If you do reading on the state of the world’s food supply, you’ll hear things like we’ve only got 30 – 60 years of top soil left before we can’t grow crops here anymore. You also hear about the chemicals, like Monsanto’s Roundup, that are poisoning us all. I live in a farming community with farmland on the south side of my house. In the summer, the crop duster comes around 5:00 AM spraying nastiness that makes us all wheeze.
Then, of course, there are some theories that the reason we’re all getting autoimmune diseases is that our soils (and therefore the foods we eat) are depleted of nutrients and/or loaded with chemicals.
Remember when I said I was crazy? Ok, so then I think about how far our food travels (like from Chile or China), and how the way we raise animals to eat is both inhumane and destroying the planet. That’s starting to keep me up at night. On top of that, Colorado has a significant lack of water problem (on top of being in the high plains desert, the oil and gas industry takes most of our water for fracking). We don’t even have the rights to water that falls from the sky in our yards in Colorado. They just passed a law last year that now allows us to keep two 55 gallon drums of water from rain. That’s not much. Scary, huh? That starts creating scares not just about water security, but food security as well. Colorado has an ever shrinking agricultural economy.
I started thinking about all of this, and thinking it is completely wasteful to be watering a lawn in my yard, when I could grow food and at least recoop that water in food that I eat. When we moved into our house in 2003, we made a few garden beds in our back yard, which I have used every year. This year, with my new found craziness, we expanded our endeavors with 5 new 4 foot x 4 foot wood square planters, 4 for food, and 1 for compost. So, here’s what I’ve got in pictures so far. Most of these were taken on June 7th, so still very early in the season.
4 foot by 4 foot square box garden with strings every 1 foot. 10 foot pvc pipes criss crossed to allow shade cloth (in this case, burlap) or plastic to make it like a greenhouse and extend the growing period. This picture, taken June 7th, has lettuce (has already had at least a dozen salads from it), broccoli, carrots, and scallions.
- This box contains lettuces, cauliflower, tomatoes (not ideal, as they get too big), and kale.
This box, with the exception of the PVC pipe was a kit from a company called Greene’s. It is not as deep as the others, which we built from scratch. It contains sweet potatoes, a pepper, strawberries, and some seeds (carrots and scallions) that haven’t come up yet.
Not ideal for large plants, this box has 1 cucumber and 1 cantaloupe. We did not break it up into 1 foot sections as these will be long vines and will outgrow the box.
- This is one of our old beds from 2003/4. The white flowers are arugula that came up from last year and is already going to seed. There is a broccoli plant with yellow flower (close) that was also a surprise from last year. Planted among all of that mess is kale and collard greens. Kale is wonderful baked into chips. We also juice kale and collard greens.
This used to be my son’s garden, but he hadn’t planted anything the last 2 years, so my husband took it over. There is a new apple tree planted to the left. I don’t know what all he has planted in that bed. In the back fence corner, there is a large rose bush.
This is one end of a very long bed. You can see sage, chives, and oregano. In the mulch, you can see the chives have spread, as has the arugula from 15 feet away. There are pumpkins, zucchinis, and yellow squashes planted in here also (behind these plants).
Pots interspersed with flowers, basil, and rosemary (basil and rosemary are annuals in Colorado, so must be replanted every year). The bottom pot is my lemon tree, which almost died before it got warm enough to go back outside after a long winter under grow lights.
My orange tree is getting buds. Maybe I’ll get some oranges. I’ve had the tree for 3 years and have gotten a total of 4 oranges.
There’s a lot more going on in the yard than this. It looks pretty messy, but I don’t care. I do eventually want to kill off the grass, so we won’t have to mow. We are composting everything we can get our hands on, so you’ll see cardboard on the ground in some of the pictures. Very little is going to waste in our house, but I’ll save that for another post.