From a window-box of herbs to a homestead, growing your own food is an education, a series of trial and error, and a meditation on connecting with nature in a meaningful and personal way. It’s about observation, patience, and resourcefulness - a skill that has gone by the wayside in our culture of convenience. 

You don’t need a yard with a beautiful arrangement of raised beds and trellises with cascading blossoms. A pea plant in a toilet paper tube or regrowing onions in a jar is just as beautiful and important. To get started, you just need a few items: high-quality, organic seeds, a little soil, some finished compost, various pots and containers, and some plant markers.  

Chances are you can find some of these things right in your recycling bin! We start seeds in toilet paper tubes, newspaper pots, egg cartons, or plastic food containers with a few holes poked in the bottom for drainage. The containers can later be turned into DIY olla watering pots once your seedlings are in the ground or you can use plastic beverage bottles as a drip irrigation system. Lettuce clamshell containers make great mini-greenhouses, especially for microgreens. Cardboard boxes can be used under mulch to conserve water and keep weeds down. The plastic cutlery and chopsticks we all seem to collect make fantastic garden markers.  

Look at what you already have (or check out the thrift store) with fresh eyes and consider how it could be used in your garden. Visit a local allotment garden and explore all the interesting ways local gardeners have repurposed everyday household items to support their plants and increase their yields - my personal favourite is using a ladder to grow cucumbers and summer squashes vertically. The possibilities are endless! 

We don’t grow enough in our little backyard garden to sustain ourselves, but it is enough for us to learn about the importance of soil, how to compost, what grows in our area and when, and just how much work it takes. It’s okay if you don’t know what you are doing, in fact, that’s kind of the point! Little by little, you watch your garden grow and it watches you grow right back.