Friday, July 8, 2011

Maximizing space for small vegetable gardens, no more corn

It is an exciting time for Gidget's Garden. We have our embossed, legitimate certified producer's certificate in hand, we have our Fictitcious Business Name, which we are publishing, so if anyone has a problem with us operating under the name of Gidget's Garden; now is the time to bring it up. We have our business license, and we are confirmed for the market on July 16th. I will let you know next Friday what we are bringing, it should be a nice variety of things; in extremely small quantities.

Right now is a good time for Gidget's Garden to take a look at herself and evaluate. Farmer D may not know this, but my goal is not to become rich. I am already rich with abundant blessings, even though I probably do not fall into the same socioeconomic bracket that most "rich" people do. Money is not the motivation behind Gidget's Garden.

The goal of Gidget's Garden has evolved and I hope it continues to do so. We started out because we wanted more control over our own food. Then we wanted to grow all of our own produce, and introduce others to the concept of growing their own too. Now we want to share some of our bounty, and get as much food as possible out of our little plot, while continuing to inspire others to do the same.

Mammoth sunflowers and corn 
We wanted to choose organic, non-GMO , and completely raw food without a lot of brain damage or extra expense. The nutritional quality of the general food supply is getting worse by the nano-second. Children in their teenage years cannot identify a bell pepper when shown one. We have too much  hyper-analyzation of every molecule of our food, while the relaxed enjoyment of actual whole food, grown locally, has always shown the best results for our health; both in studies and through anecdotal evidence.

Our large raised garden bed, planted with the idea of maximizing a small space. 
This bed is the direction that we want to head in the future with all of the spaces in our garden. We did the best we could to create a harmonious environment for many plants here and we are having success.We have 3 sugar baby watermelons, 6 Japanese cucumbers, 4 various peppers, 2 eggplants, beans, 3 tomato plants, a Tomatillo, several lemon cucumbers, some onions, some flowers, and even some lettuce all growing in this 3x10 foot bed. The plants are generally very healthy and producing well. This space is large enough to plant food for 2 people in San Diego, if they are willing to eat an extremely seasonal diet. In full sun, San Diego enjoys a year round growing season.  

Cucumbers, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes growing in a section of our 3x10 foot raised garden bed.
We staggered the planting time in order to have a continual harvest throughout the warm growing season. Some of the plants are just starting to take off while others have been providing food for several weeks.

A patch of sunflowers, corn, a kabocha squash volunteer, and cherry tomato volunteer
When we first started gardening, we really liked the idea of growing our own corn. Corn plants are very unique to see growing in a front yard. Corn also presented us some challenges because we do not have enough room to plant enough to self pollinate, so we had to figure out how to pollinate corn ourselves. Corn is fun to grow and it is a tasty food to eat, especially for those of us that are reminded of long, careless, summer days when we bite into a fresh piece of sweet corn. Now we are starting to reevaluate the value of this crop for Gidget's Garden, and our community.

Corn is one of, if not the absolute worst crop from a political standpoint, but that could be a whole book if you got me going. Some of  the problems have to do with massive genetic modification of the crop, which is potentially the cause of many diseases in today's world. Many farmers in Mexico, and other parts of the world have lost their entire livelihood because we have undercut their traditional maize so much, they can no longer afford to grow it. The majority of the animals we are supposed to eat are force fed corn, even though it is not at all their natural diet, and it is making them extremely sick. Now cows get most of the antibiotic sold in the country and they are creating way more methane gas than they would on a natural diet of grass. The issue of us using corn to fuel our vehicles while babies in other parts of the world starve to death is a whole other subject for debate. All of this corn manipulation is happening with our tax dollars, and it all makes corn a serious subject. I am growing my own because I like corn, and I don't want to contribute to any of the above madness by actually buying it. 

If you add the political factors to the fact that it takes a lot of room to grow a small amount, corn is of little nutritional value, and Gidget will never have enough to sell at market, so our neighbors will not benefit from us growing this crop locally, it makes sense to banish it from our crop rotation.  The space we are using to grow corn in is almost as large as the wonderful, diversified, raised bed we showed you earlier.

Corn in EarthBox on roof. Some of the last corn you will see in Gidget's Garden.
We even have some corn growing on the roof because who grows corn on their roof? I could not resist; corn is fun, especially in an EarthBox, on the roof. But, as fun as it is, corn does not make sense for Gidget's Garden in the future. The political problems associated with it are just too great, and the space needed to produce it is also too great a sacrifice for our goals. We want to bring people local food that is grown organically, and more importantly, help them find the best route to grow their own. We don't have enough room to grow corn and meet those goals.

We do not fault anyone who chooses to grow their own corn because homegrown corn is incredible, and corn is an important and historical crop. Homegrown is certainly the best way to enjoy it.. We are going to live without it in the future in favor of crops that are more beneficial for our home and our community.

Squash (Kabocha) that just popped up and I allowed to stay
In the future I will not keep the random plants that pop up in random places throughout the garden either. This Kabocha squash was fun and I did get a couple of good  fruits off of it but now it is suffering with severe fungal disease and taking over our precious, limited garden space. The space in our garden is so limited that in order to meet our goal growing all of our own produce, and of helping our neighborhood eat local, we will have to plan every inch of space in advance, and pull things that just pop up on their own. 

Gidget says; "Oh my gosh, I seriously have to tell you people everything! If you would have just listened, I could have told you corn was not worth the space in my garden!"