Monday, May 19, 2008

Vegetable gardening is "in" - but not here

There's a lot of news about vegetable gardening enjoying a big jump in popularity. Garden bloggers are writing about it, and my brother who owns a garden centre in London, Ontario, reports a big increase in sales of vegetable seeds and gardening supplies.

But I'm bucking the trend: last fall we sodded over what was left of our vegetable garden. We're still enjoying our home-grown asparagus. It's succulent, sweet and easy to pick, but it's all we grow to eat, aside from a couple of tomato plants, a single Swiss chard and some kitchen herbs.

It wasn't always that way: when we started out here a decade ago, veggie gardening was a big thing for me.

I was way more Martha Stewartish then: I grew many varieties of tomatoes, string beans, peas, even onions and shallots from seed. Our vegetable garden was 50 by 100 feet times two, beautifully laid out with straw-mulched paths and edged with parsley and orange gem marigolds. One of the patches would be filled with pumpkins and squash. And then there were two smaller patches closer to the house with yet more veggies and cutting flowers.

So what happened? Well, I'm 52, not 42, there's still just two of us to feed, and it simply was an unsustainable amount of work. We grassed in the giant veggie gardens about four years ago, and that area is now planted with a grid of 12 White Angel crab apple trees.

I kept the two smaller veggie patches (two times 8 by 16 feet) until we sodded them over last fall (pictured left).

All that remains is the asparagus patch, which was one of first things I planted when we moved here a decade ago.

Have I given up on farm-fresh, wholesomely grown vegetables? Not at all. Instead of growing our own, we now buy a share from a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm called Plan B. (The family that runs it lived several blocks away from us when we still lived in the city, and while hunting for a country property we actually looked at the farm they eventually bought. Small world!)

Also down our road, as of last year there's a new market garden full of good things. The bottom line for me: as much great, affordable, fresh, organic, locally-grown food as we could possibly want, minus all the work. Been there, done that, had enough.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener

3 comments:

  1. Sounds good to me. I wish there was something like that close by my house. I'm stuck with growing my veggies in containers on the back patio.

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  2. Well Yvonne the veggie garden was spectacular but I think it sounds like a great plan. I saw some asparagus growing in a friends garden this spring and thought that might be something to try! Hope your weather is warming up a bit...yesterday the wind here was brutal and I thought it might snow!! BRRRRRRRR!!!!

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  3. I have also wondered if veggie gardening is more popular for young gardeners. When I was in my 20s, gardening was all about growing food and I thought growing flowers was a waste of time and resources.

    Now in my 50s, I grow more flowers than veggies (although part of my constraint is having a very shady yard.)

    I notice most of the young gardeners I know (and who blog) are really into growing food--for health reasons, or ecological reasons.

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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener