Dana’s big gardening adventure begins

March 28, 2008


Like so many people, I’m intrigued by the idea that I can be a better earthling by making some small changes to my daily habits. As a foodie, I find the locavore movement that sees more consumers and chefs choosing ingredients based on the fewest number of miles foods have been shipped particularly inspiring.

And, like Malcolm Jolley at Gremolata, I see backyard garden plots as a logical extension of this trend. If you want to save fossil fuel use by limiting the kilometres that foods are trucked, the best thing you can do is grow them at home, right?

As some of you may recall, I was for several years the food editor for Gardening Life Magazine. In that post I developed recipes for seasonal produce and offered tips for home gardeners who were keen to grow food. Although I learned a lot writing those articles, my gardening preference as an adult has been to grow decorative rather than edible plants.

This year, I’m ‘between gardens’. We moved into a new house last summer and our home landscaping is very basic right now. In fact, until next summer when our pool, fencing and beds are complete, I have very little digging or pruning to do in my home yard.

Fortunately, my test kitchen is on a large piece of wonderful, fertile growing land with an established garden plot. Since we took the property over, our landscaper has been tilling all of the cuttings and leaves into the garden so that it is filled with wonderful organic matter and nutrients.

I’ve decided to plant a vegetable garden this spring behind the test kitchen. I’ll follow my own advice and talk to experts and see where the project takes me. So far, I’ve assembled some heritage and other seeds and made a mental plan for the garden.

My first step will be to spend this weekend planting seeds for various kinds of heritage vegetables which I’ll harden off and plant later this spring (if that ever arrives). During my big gardening adventure, I’m going to share my successes and failures here with you.

Each Friday I’ll post about what is happening in my vegetable garden and what I’ve learned. I hope that you’ll chime in with tips and advice when you see me going astray. I’m not a complete newbie but I have a lot to learn. Any help you can offer will be accepted with gratitude!