URBAN GARDENS - A NEW FOOD TREND
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© January 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
A new trend in America is for people to grow their own food in urban or suburban gardens. The trend is not really new, since during World War II people grew so–called victory gardens to save money, mainly.
Rather than grow grass that serves little purpose except it looks nice, many people are shifting a portion of their lawn into gardens. Cities are also revising zoning and other laws to make it easier for people to have their own gardens at home.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD
The many advantages include:
1. Fresher food.
2. More natural food.
3. Organically grown food.
4. Possibly obtaining vegetables that you cannot otherwise obtain.
5. Healthy exercise tending the garden.
6. Excellent and grounding activity and learning opportunity for children.
7. Community and social benefits if you include others in your gardening activity.
8. Possibly a money-making business selling your extra food to neighbors or to local health food stores or other markets.
WHAT TO GROW OR RAISE
Many areas can grow a variety of vegetables. Ones that are easy to grow include carrots and other root vegetables such as beets and turnips.
Other excellent ones are the cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Greens also grow well, such as spinach, chard, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, arugula, kale and others.
What not to grow. Tomatoes are a popular home garden vegetable, but I do not recommend them because they are very yin in macrobiotic terms, and they are in the nightshade family. This is a slightly toxic family of vegetables that also includes all peppers, eggplant and white and red potatoes. I also do not recommend mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, okra or celery for various reasons explained in other articles on this site.
PESTICIDES, ANIMALS, WEEDS, WATERING AND OTHER PROBLEMS
Gardens take a little expertise, although many lawn and garden stores offer help. Common problems are:
- Soil that has been sprayed for years with pesticides will include some residue, and occasionally this is a problem. Adding clean soil will help, and over time many pesticides will break down and disappear. Turning the soil over with a tiller or tractor can speed up this process, since sunshine tends to break down many chemicals.
- Many soils are not that good, and may require nutrients such as kelp, fish heads or other nutrients to build it up.
- Wild animals can destroy an entire garden in one night, so fencing off gardens is often helpful or necessary, even in the middle of a city.
- Gardens need plenty of water, so you will need a source of water nearby.
- Weeds and bugs are a problem in some areas, especially if the soil is poor. There are many methods to keep weeds and bugs under control without using toxic sprays so that your vegetables will be organically grown. Healthier soil grows plants that are far more resistant to bugs of all kinds, and other blights and plant diseases. This is the same principle as feeding our bodies correctly to make them more resistant to diseases of all kinds.
Have fun with your garden and the work will seem light. Plan that it will take a few seasons or years to figure out how to outsmart the bugs and raccoons, and to grow beautiful organic vegetables. Use the many organic gardening websites and books to give you ideas and solutions as you learn how to garden for health.