Remember the words of Henry Thoreau?  He said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

IMG_8799

I've been thinking about food growing a lot lately since I put away all my dried garlic and have been planting out all my fall crops. I am also very busy starting many fall greens that are unable to germinate in warm soil. Which means, I need to germinate them inside under lights and then place them out as the weather cools in our area; It occupies a lot of my free time, so would you call it a hobby? I don't call it a gardening hobby. It is for health reasons that I grow most of my food. I use to work outside the home but in 2009, due to health reasons, I decided to grow more food on my city lot. I need access to nutrient dense foods to help me fight disease. I had no idea what I was getting myself into full-time back in 2009, but it sure has taught me how hard food growing is, and it is not an exact science. Each growing area or plot requires its individual approach. One has to observe and learn, and that means making a lot of mistakes along the way.

IMG_8805

I grow food full-time right now, and I consider it my job. Many of my friends are still working full-time jobs or are retired and going back to work as a volunteer or part-time at a new job. I am not going to lie to you about food growing. There are a ton of books out there or websites that tell you; Grow food with minimal input, yeah right! Why would one want little input? Isn't the purpose of growing food to get outside and connect with the soil and nature. Trust me, I am guilty of reading these books when I first started growing food on our city lot, but over the years, I 've changed my views on food growing.

Food growing is something we all should learn to do even if it is a few pots on our back porch. I love herbs in pots right outside my kitchen!  If you don't have an area to grow food, then please support your local or regional farmers that are trying to make a living growing nutrient dense food. Support them at your local farmers market or purchase only local or regionally grown food at your local grocery store. If you do have a place where you can grow food then maybe you might be interested in what I am doing this next year

IMG_8743

one of the easiest things to grow is garlic, just plant them in the fall and harvest mid summer. I let mine dry on the shelf inside before I bag them up.

I am starting over with a fresh new approach to my food growing in Fall 2016. It seems to go with our new facade. Having a new roof + rebuilt front of your house appears to inspire one to make changes. I have learned a lot over the past seven years growing food on our city lot. I started out with one corner of my yard back in 2000. It was just a place to put a few tomato plants. I never thought it would take up my entire lot which has become a big part of my daily work each day. I no longer travel across the river to teach and have a bit more free time to grow more food. If I am honest, I have found it requires MORE of my free-time than I ever thought it would. I have no idea how one would grow this much food on a city lot with a full-time job and a house full of kids. I read a lot of blogs and many of them post stories about how "easy" food growing is and it only requires a few hours a week. Are they serious? I have found it quite the opposite. It might only need a few hours a week if you have a small garden, but if you want to grow more food to freeze and put up for winter or provide daily microgreens for winter eating; it takes more time than a few hours a week!

A large bush was in this area and we took it out in hte middle of the summer so now we have only one large Rose of Sharon growing which will be reduced in size soon.

I opened a Pinterest account and Instagram account on my blog so you could see what I am working on daily which should give you an idea how I live my life growing food full-time. I also grow organic flowers, herbs, and vegetables for others in my community. I am each year helping more people to grow food, use pollinator-friendly plants and use fewer chemicals on their city lots. I came home yesterday and found some used garden pots that I gave someone earlier in the spring. They did not leave a note, so I figure it was someone who got good use out of the plants. It inspired me to continue doing what I started out doing back in 2009! It made me happy to know they put their plants in their garden, and now they are reaping the benefits from good food and creating a healthy place for them and nature right in the heart of the city! What foods do you grow or pollinator-friendly plants?

Published by Robbie Palm