Companion planting is the very simple, yet age old, technique of grouping together plants that benefit one another, in a setting that echoes what we see in our natural surroundings. Nature doesn’t plant in rows, but rather, groups different species together, all in the same place. Conventionally cultivated crops, where one crop is sown along one row, tend to be a magnet for pests and disease. By bringing nature’s pattern into our gardens, we can create a system that is much healthier for us and our surroundings.
My week has been a little topsy-turvy, so today I’m skipping a podcast and instead showing you bits and pieces of our (very in-progress) garden. I’m considering this our first real garden since we moved from California in 2006. Two years ago, we gardened with friends and last year was kind of an experiment — but this year, we’re really doing how we want to do it. I’m excited and look forward to God’s bounty!
Today, we’re going to talk about backyard farming and how it can help all of us answer a growing food crisis. My guest is Angela England, the author of the new book, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less). Angela is giving away a signed copy of her book, too. Be sure to listen to the podcast so you can answer the question to get a bonus entry!
Urban farmer Annette Cottrell (from SustainableEats.com) and I have been internet friends for a long time. We have a common kinship in growing, raising, sourcing, and preparing our own foods. So I am really, really thrilled to tell you about her amazing new book. She, with Joshua McNicholls (a Seattle-based journalist with a long-term interest in sustainability and food security), wrote “The Urban Farm Handbook.” And what a handbook it is!
When the green beans stopped tasting quite so good, we let them hang on the vines and mature. By mid-October, some had dried out entirely and while most were still green. We picked. And picked. And picked. We split the bounty with our gardening friends Beth and Kerry. After about two hours of shelling, our half yielded 6 cups of fresh beans from inside the pods. They made great soup!
Hard to believe we’ve been gardening with our friends for 6 months. The time has flown! We’ve gone out there once or twice a week to work, bringing home more food than we can eat sometimes. We are still harvesting some foods, like tomatoes under the cold frame. We’ll have those maybe even in December, though the crop wasn’t as abundant as we’d hoped. We’re out the door in 15 minutes to go mushrooming, so I just have time to put up these pictures for you.
July came and went without a garden update and here we are near the end of August. Isn’t that how it goes? This morning, my kids and I made this video slideshow for you, this week’s free video. We hope you enjoy it! It is short and fun — if you’re not normally inclined to stop and watch videos, we invite you to break your rule and watch this one. No? Well, then, this post includes lots of pictures.