If you haven’t experienced the fulfillment that comes along with growing your own food, there has never been a better time to start. In the wake of Covid-19, we have seen restaurants completely shut down, grocery stores sell out of inventory, and lines file down the street for food. Growing your own food this season, is not only a safety measure, but a practice that will bring abundance and literal nourishment into your life. We spoke to Brett Schwartz, the founder of Bearfoot Gardens, to learn more about how we can optimize our own space and grow delicious organic food.
If you’re a beginner, the best thing to do is to just get your hands dirty. “If you’re looking to grow food just do it, because it’s very simple”, says Brett. “Just buy some plants, put them in the ground, and see what happens.” Pick a few easy starters like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant or zucchini and find a nice sunny spot in your yard. “We’re getting into summer here, so it’s kind of all systems go right now!”
Brett is also a huge advocate for leafy greens in home gardens. “There’s a variety of greens, kale being one of them, that can almost grow year-round depending on where you are. A variety of greens are abundant and you can be giving them haircuts all summer this year, and making your own salads.”
If you don’t have much land, try a few herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary to get you started. Throw them in some pots, or build a tiered ladder garden like we did, to maximize space.
Survey your space!
Surveying your land is a good idea if you’re trying to get the most out of your space. Brett suggests a south facing plot for most growing situations. “Whatever piece of your property is south facing, take a look at how the sun moves through the sky and how that affects your landscape. Your best possible scenario would be a spot on your property that gets at least seven hours of sunlight, but leans more towards nine hours of sunlight.” This helps to ensure that your plants will have the optimal growing situation they need to produce delicious fruits for your dinner table.
Build a Raised Bed
If you’ve dabbled with vegetable gardening over the years and are ready to step it up to provide nutritional meals more regularly for you and your loved ones, Brett recommends going with a raised bed. “I’d build raised beds or depending or, depending on your setup, build beds right into the ground. If you already have dirt add a couple of inches of compost to it. For raised beds add a good mix of top soil, compost, and maybe some manure. Think about the things that you eat and plant them!” Raised beds are a great way to maximize the potential of your space, and organize your garden in any way that you want. They also provide extra vertical space for soil nutrition and root systems.
Live in Abundance
Bearfoot Gardens is a way for Brett to help people nurture a greater connection with their food. Like most of us, he grew up with the disconnect of shopping at grocery stores that only provided food that travelled half way around the world to get to his plate. “Childhood into early adulthood I had zero connection to where my food was coming from, and I believe that growing vegetables, and growing at least part of what you consume, is a really great way to gain a general understanding of the food that you eat.” Now he helps people initiate a deeper connection to their food source, and maintain a healthy sustainable practice that literally nourishes them and their loved ones. “Food doesn’t need to be travelling very far to get to you. If we don’t start to localize it now, we’re just contributing more to a failing system.”
Growing your own food this season, no matter if it’s a few herbs, or a surplus of vegetable plants, is a great way to start building your connection with your food and creating a more sustainable system to live in. It is an extremely rewarding practice that puts food in the bellies of your loved ones. Honestly, what’s better than that?
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Written by: AJ Letterel