Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Growing a Small Container Garden for Health

There’s a buzz right now and it all has to do with GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. Using genetic engineering of the organism itself scientists can create an entirely new one from the original. And these modifications are purported to be beneficial as it will allegedly increase the food supply.

The jury is still out as to how healthy these practices are and many people are skeptical of what all this engineering of our food will do to our bodies. That was one of the main reasons my husband and I decided to start a small container garden in our yard.

According to the article What are GMOs? by Theresa Phillips

"Despite efforts to control gene expression there are many unanswered questions and issues that arise and stand in the way of full acceptance of GMOs by the public. Fear of the unknown is one cause of public reluctance to use GMOs and GEMs. However, this concern is validated whenever a specific case proves the technology has gone awry, and is widely publicized. Examples of this are products that have allegedly caused the mass destruction of non-target insect populations by genetically modified cash crops or bioethical issues surrounding questions of seed ownership once a crop has been harvested, and issues over the cost of seeds and availability to farmers."

As you can plainly see the issue is a big deal and something everyone in the United States and beyond should be invested in learning about as they do their shopping.

In an effort to reduce, and soon eliminate, GMOs from our diet we decided to grow a healthy number of veggies in our small container garden.

This year in just seventy-five square feet, split between two areas in the backyard, we grew spinach, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. Plus we had some basil, parsley, rosemary and lavender interspersed with the veggies.

We already harvested the spinach and broccoli. Sadly the cauliflower didn’t make it. Our meals have made use of fresh herbs and just recently we pulled up three huge hauls of carrots.

Now the tomatoes are coming. And oh my goodness are they ever!

It feels great, literally and figuratively, to be eating fully organic food that we grew in our own backyard. I wish I could say I was the green thumb in this household but my husband is the growing genius around here.

As our resident gardening authority, I asked him what he did to create such a healthy bounty in our yard and he happily replied,

Choosing plants that would yield a big crop in a small space, and ones that we enjoyed eating, was key.  Small space gardens are easier to keep watered here in the desert, and all in all require very little extra care beyond water and mulch.

Big crop in a small space was an understatement when it came to the number of carrots we pulled up this spring. We’re both excited to have veggies and herbs to munch on through this early part of summer here in Phoenix. Plus I know they’re free of pesticides, additives, and/or modifications other than those nature intends - like a split in the skin or an unexpected color.

Do you want to grow your own veggies to avoid GMOs? Matt has some tips to make your garden grow in a small space.

Matt’s suggestions for a successful small space garden

► Water in the early evenings - the plants can then absorb the water overnight before the evaporation of the day sets in.
► Water slowly and deeply - I use a garden hose with homemade holes poked at strategic locations for each plant and run it for about an hour when I water.
► Train your plants to be more drought resistant.  Water them daily when first planted, but ease them off slowly.  Even here in the desert, I only water every 2-3 days for about an hour, and our tomatoes have very little leaf wilt or signs of stress.
► The smaller the container or space, the more often you need to water, but do less water more often.  Don’t drown your poor plants!!
► A nice thick layer of mulch!  It helps retain the moisture, and will keep the plants warm in the spring and cool in the summer.

I hope you have a chance to get out in your own yard and consider growing something delicious in a small container garden this summer so you too can live GMO free!

Where do you get your veggies? Do you know where they originated? Do you have space for a small garden or have a Farmer’s Market close by to acquire fresher, healthier vegetables? Talk about your experience in the comments!

1 comment:

Almost Precious said...

The carrots look great. Nice to hear that you're having such success with gardening, especially considering you're out in the desert.

I've tried many times to grow veggies but every time the bugs devour whatever I plant. Maybe it is just me because if I'm in a group of people and there's one mosquito around, it will always find me and me alone.
One year we were camping at Lake Shasta in Calif. with our boating and water ski club and I was eaten alive by sand fleas. The next year we couldn't make the Lake Shasta camp out and one of my friends that went said; "Wish you had been there cause without you all the sand fleas picked on me." Had to laugh. Guess I must be a bug magnet. Yuck !