We grow what we can in our little rental property garden, including potatoes, beans, zucchini and a range of herbs. My main crop is leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, silver beet and kale. These are hardy year-round plants that suit any dish, from stir-frys to homemade burgers, and they are packed full of iron; great for a vegetarian family such as ours. I am still learning a lot about gardening and haven’t got quite the green thumb I would like. It is not that I am a lazy gardener, I just spread myself thinly across all the things I would like to be doing, therefore my knowledge reflects this. I would love to spend all my time sewing, but I can’t. I would love to spend an entire day each week in the garden... but I can’t. Having a baby that never sleeps really doesn’t allow for such luxuries. I mean, I am lucky to get a shower.
So, I started Urban Foraging, it is not just productive but makes for a great hobby. Here in Christchurch the earthquake red zone is an amazing green space that you can go and pick fruit trees. After the area was cleared of housing due to earthquake damage, the sections have melded into one large green space that has been reclaimed by nature. Well, maybe not that extreme yet – if you wander through with your google map in hand, you can find the edges of properties, see peoples once loved and nurtured hedge rows now in disrepair, find kids tree houses tucked high in the odd trees branches. The apple and pear trees that were once loved by a family are now feeding a community! It is an amazing way to spend a morning with the kids (or dog if you are that way inclined) to have a game of edible orienteering; finding the landmarks on the map to navigate your way through an edible jungle!
Community gardens provide gardening training as well as letting you reap the rewards of fresh produce. My local community garden sells seedlings which I have found to be the service that I can make the most of - although I don’t get along to the work bees, I am able to plant veggies in my garden that I know are the right time of year to grow.
And if you have balls much steelier than mine, you can dumpster dive for your food! Since I have little to no personal experience in this area I can’t offer any exciting stories of getting chased by security guards or eating off Parmesan. But I did live with a guy once who filled (his section) of the fridge with the rewards reaped from wasteful supermarkets. His advice included “if it has meat juice on it, leave it there”, and “most of it is fine”.
All of these things may not supply your entire quota of 5 + a day but they will supplement your produce shops nicely. By growing your own, foraging and buying locally you are reducing the pesticides in your diet as well as taking a chunk out of the energy used to produce these things on a larger scale.
The main benefit of having a veggie garden is that there is always something in the house to eat!