Don’t have much space for organic garden? Grow up!

Jan. 21, 2010
Don’t have much space for organic garden? Grow up!

Folks who live in urban areas or apartments may sometimes feel left out of the grow-your-own organic food movement.
Don’t! In addition to community supported agriculture, where churches, civic groups, neighbors and/or farmer/entrepreneurs often offer urban gardens, it may only take a little ingenuity to be growing wholesome, nutritious food.
For example, pots or buckets on apartment balconies (even on high rises) can offer great spots for winter greens or summer tomatoes.
For those with no yard to speak of, like a town house, if you have a garage, you can plant in a wheelbarrow and simply roll it out during the day and back in at night.
But one of the most creative compendiums of ideas for the garden challenged is a new book: Vertical Vegetables and Fruit: Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces by Rhonda Massingham Hart (Storey Publishing, $16.95).
Although the book is mostly devoted to small plots, that is, people who have a few feet of actual ground to work with, it also gives ample instructions on other ways to grow in small spaces, such as using hanging pots, buckets and pruning techniques.
It also gives good tips for varieties of plants, seeds and soil requirements.
Primarily, though, it emphasizes a fact that many folks may have overlooked: “Every square foot of garden space comes with a bonus 6 cubic feet or more of usable growing space above it.”
Maybe for some folks in urban or cramped quarters now is a good time to start planning for spring with a new outlook.
In other words, it’s time to get vertical and grow up!

Paula Deen’s larding it on: I’m disappointed that Paula Deen, who has made a fortune showing people how to cook fried foods, didn’t take the opportunity of announcing her Type 2 diabetes this week with a change of lifestyle.
She could have made an impact in diabetes prevention.
Instead she announced her illness saying that she’s actually had it for three years – and was unapologetic about her role in promoting unhealthy diets, saying that people should eat what they want. The point seemed to be her having inked a contract with a pharmaceutical company for an insulin alterative drug.
But why not eat a healthy diet to help prevent diabetes to begin with?
Taking her at her word, Deen achieved fame promoting unhealthy diets and now indeed must bear personal responsibility for her choice. She now will also be an example of what not to eat.
Mississippians, listed as having the most obese people of any state and suffering all the ills of poor diet – diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, joint problems and reduced physical mobility – should take note.
A balanced diet and moderate exercise can do wonders.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

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