After visiting Stefan and Nic Butler’s farm
back in April and witnessing the positive impact they were having on the local
food supply in Squamish for the “On the Farm” feature, my wife and I pondered
to ourselves how feasible it would be for us to try and grow some of our own
food over the course of the summer.
Given the alarming distances that the food
we consume travel and how out of touch most of us have become with our food and
how it reaches our tables, we decided to take on the challenge and conduct our
own little experiment. Food these days seem to be better travelled than even
the most avid of travellers.
Having never grown anything other than mold
on bread and with a condo balcony facing Kybers as our only growing area it
would be an ambitious undertaking filled with trials and tribulations.
Starting slightly late into the growing
season, we headed down to the garden center in Function Junction and armed
ourselves with two bags of organic top soil and an overabundant variety of
seeds for our first attempt, including peas, beans, parsley, chives, radishes,
cherry tomatoes, ball carrots and zucchini.
Setting up a rustic garden consisting of
large Styrofoam boxes available at any local restaurant serving fresh fish and
wooden wine crates from the liquor store we began to carefully plant our tiny
seeds in rows separated by what we figured would grow best together.
After around a couple weeks of watering our
mini garden began to come to life with a variety of different shaped sprouts
searching out the best angles to the sun. This whole gardening thing appeared
to be a breeze!
As the weeks went it on however, it became
evident that we had clearly over crowded our planting boxes and while
everything continued to grow it was clear that some major thinning would be
required for the plants to produce anything. Who knew all those tiny seeds
would turn into something?
As the sun continued to shine the plants began
to bloom into flower and the first glimpse of something edible came in the
shape of pea pods, golden yellow zucchini flowers blossoming (great for
stuffing with anything from seafood to veggies) and handfuls of fresh herbs
sprouting like weeds.
It was without a doubt a rewarding
experience to be able to consume some of our own home grown produce, seeing it
grow from tiny seeds into something nourishing to both the body and mind. Herbs
especially were a useful item, and just being able to take what was needed as
they are often expensive in the grocery store and a large bunch is rarely
needed or utilized before it begins to wilt.