No matter where you live, be it city, town, country or homesteading, the odds are good that at some point and time, you are going to want to produce your own food.. its a logical step..
Even if it starts with tomatos.. I am not sure why everyone seems to start with a tomtato, starting with root veggies in many cases would be easier but none the less, the humble tomato is the gate way garden plant for many..
I think its because there are so many kinds, the taste of a homegrown tomato vs store can not be undersold and it can grow in a pot anywhere that you can stick it in full sun ideally.
However at some point folks cross the line from a tomato to gardening.. the average size garden in town is now 3 feet by 6 feet in raised box format and the average in ground garden is 10 by 16 per the stats I dug up, * having said that they are old stats and I can find little to no backup on them.
Most folks consider a large garden to be 100 by 200 feet, those of us who are homestead should have a lot more then that.. while you need to start small, you need to work your way up to half a acre of annuals and a half to a acre of the rest..
Yes, you can try and do it with less land, and you can do it successful if you are willing to put the time and work into it.. but if you are running a busy household, you are raising a family and or critters etc.. and you have the ability to do so, use that land..
but lets get back to plant groups.. what is a plant group.. well it can be darn near anything that works for you..
In my early 20’s my plant groups where the older ladies from church, they were at times a sheet put on the public board at the post office, and they were at times, me finding the right moment to walk by a yard and say.. Wow, your garden is amazing, plant and garden folks love to talk about their work.
In my 30’s, it was more about church plant sales, but then came the net and facebook and o my, the reach now.. Seedy Saturdays, Local plant events, Local freecyle for plants and so much more.
At this point, I am a member of my local facebook plant groups, and its taken me to whole new level of gardening, they have not expanded my garden so much as they have expanded my excitement for it..
While I was raised gardening, I was raised very old school, potato, carrots, corn and so forth, in neat rows, weeded between and hoed out.. it was a very orderly thing.
When I started gardening, I split it between herbal and food, fresh eating food for myself and herbal for teas, craft and dried, then I moved to the farm and I went all three.. fresh eating, herbal, medical and putting up..
Then on our second year on the farm, I started growing crops for my critters, it opened up a huge new world of learning, because I was reaching for protein and calories, not just taste..
I got lost in it.. for about five years, it was my focus, food for us, food for the farm itself..
Then I joined the facebook group.. wow.. suddenly I was allowed to have a breath of fresh air.. and I have expanded my goals and gardens again.. Not just doing regular seed growing but odd and old plants, heritage plants, bulk seed saving and so much more.
So here is my Farmgal Tip of the Day.. Step outside the homestead groups and join a local to you Plant and Garden Group.
Here are my top five reasons to join a plant-garden group..
- You will keep up with local plant events, they will post seed swaps, they will post Sale days and they will allow within reason, those that raise seedlings to tell folks about it. They will offer advice to your zone, climate and growing year in live time.
- They will work together to create group buys for huge savings, they will tell you about the farmer that has straw for 2 dollars a bale instead of the 8 in kijji, they will tell you that so and so little market is the place to buy x or y or z
- They will host seed swaps, they will save plants, roots and yesterday, I saw someone say, I have leaves would you like them for compost, they will share rides to events, they will share drop off and pickup points, I have dropped of upwards of 5 folks free plants at one persons place and had others come there.
- They will expand your mind in good ways, they will post about local community gardens, they will talk about school gardens, they will share about the local harvests of fruits, they will share information about your local permaculture events, food forests and so much more.. In our group, we have planned and have folks do trips to garden centers, farms and so much more.
- They will create plant friendships, online plant friends will send you seeds in the mail, and they are some of the most understanding friends you will get.. they understand if you say.. I am in planting season now.. they understand when you say, I am canning today.. and the best thing.. you will find the ones that say.. I will help dig the bed with you, I will help can with you, I will help harvest with you.. and though that you will share your knowledge but you will gain so much more yourself.
I am involved in a number of plant breeding programs, and I love it.. I had done a number of these types of things myself but I was working for my own gardens good, now I share with others and it allows me to expand my work, just as they do with me..