|Posted on May 13, 2010 at 12:34 AM|
"While I could quite easily just buy vegetables elsewhere, the point is I choose not to."
Each of us has our reasons and goals for growing a food production garden. At a minimum it can provide a tasty supplement of some fresh and organic food to augment mostly purchased items from other sources. At the other end of the spectrum, some aspire to provide completely for their own subsistence - using their property to provide vegetables, fruits, as well as dairy, eggs, and even meat or fish. Amazingly enough, many people have achieved good success with this loftier goal of providing entirely for themselves even on modest parcels of property in urban and suburban settings. A classic example of this is the Dervaes family in Pasadena California. While I am always inspired by stories of people like the Dervaes who take this to the ultimate edge of self sufficiency – I know for me personally that it is more than I am able (or willing) to do given my other obligations and property limitations. Similarly, I know there are many people who look at what I do with my garden and consider it “too much” for what they are willing or able to fit into their lives. There is a wide range of possibilities of how far to take your food production gardening efforts and no matter what end of the spectrum we choose to take it – it is all good! What matters most is that we each make the determination of the role we want our Modern Victory Gardens to have in our lives and then pursue that goal with vigor!
For me, the objectives are pretty straightforward. I work to produce 100% of my family’s vegetable needs; a significant portion of our fruit needs; and supplement everything else where possible (such as herbs, dried beans, etc). Recently, I have added to my goals the production of 100% of our eggs as well. Because I want my garden to produce all of our vegetable needs and more, I tend to view my Modern Victory Garden as a micro farm. I want to maximize food production from the foot print of property available to me. This means that I tend to plant intensively spaced; put in larger plantings of any given crop; practice aggressive season extension and succession planting to maximize the amount of fresh harvests available during the entirety of the year; and preserve the over abundance of summer to feed us during the low production periods of winter and early spring. I monitor how things are going and when something is not producing I make appropriate changes. Since a large part of our daily food supply comes from the garden, I tend to take it all a little more seriously than others might. While I could quite easily just buy vegetables elsewhere, the point is I choose not to. The taste, nutrition, and overall economy of the effort provide constant reward for that commitment. If anything, I feel compelled to produce even more - so that we may reduce the amount of meat we consume on a regular basis and replace it instead with an even greater amount of plant based foods. I have no intention of becoming a vegetarian, but I think we would be well served to lower the overall amount of meat in our diet.
Have you thought about your gardening goals? Are you on track to meet them?