This is for you who have interest in all of this green, eco-friendly and sustainable stuff that has seemed to gain huge popularity in the last few years. I grew up with a lot of it. Home vegetable gardening without chemical fertilizers or pesticides (and putting up the harvest), composting, re-using and recycling, buying local – I’ve been silently (ok, maybe not so silently) amused at how it is finally catching on and I hope it isn’t just another fad. It is, in fact, very do-able. Even in a city. No heroic measures necessary. I’m convinced that it has everything to do with perception and paying attention to – being conscious of – where you are and what you are doing.
I am on a mission to do things that just simply make sense. Really, what I want, is to share this deep, visceral sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I get out of my homestead geekery with as many people as possible.
At this time of year, my garden is my focus. In our modest urban lot (roughly one eighth of an acre), we’ve already been feasting on radishes, strawberries, spinach and spring mesclun mix. The sugar snap and snow peas are slowly starting to come in. The cucumbers and tomatoes have flowers on them, the miniature fruits right behind. Savoy and red cabbage, broccoli, okra, carrots, onions and potatoes are coming along well, too, (although the potatoes are off-site, for the most part, but more on that later).
Our two Aracuana hens lay one egg (each) about every 25 hours, 5-6 days a week, so that is an average of a dozen eggs a week for the three of us.
That’s perfect for our needs, regarding what we can realistically raise given our climate, zoning and available time. I still shop at the local farmer's markets and supermarkets for all of the rest, but I like to keep that to a minimum where I can help it - i.e. - I try to buy produce locally when it is in season and I tend to avoid the obvious imported goods. This doesn't mean that we never have seafood or citrus, just not as often.
The needs bit is what I want to stress the most. Over the last few years, I’ve made a really concerted effort to pay attention to what we consume, and how much. This year’s garden is the first I’ve designed to address those needs. All of the fruits and vegetables (and the chickens) that I mentioned produce a volume of food that my household can realistically consume and/or preserve.
Determining that volume and consciously planning to produce it, is the first step towards what I consider to be truly sustainable living.