With spring upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about my home garden. Every year I get ridiculously excited to start planting. In fact, our whole family does, and with the outstanding weather we’ve been having, the anticipation has been mounting. We started our edible garden 5 years ago when my son was 2 years old. We started off small with just one raised garden bed and we only planted a few different vegetables. My son was so excited when the plants started to sprout and even more excited when it was finally time to pick some of the vegetables. It was obvious that this was going to be a great family tradition. Since then we’ve added a little more to our garden each year. For myself, as an avid home cook, it’s wonderful being able to walk into my backyard and pick fresh vegetable for our dinner. I also find that I’m more inspired in my cooking during the summer months. For my kids, who get insanely excited when the first sprouts start to appear and eagerly check the plants each afternoon hoping its time to harvest some of them, the little lessons and memories are incredible. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to convince them to eat their veggies if they get to grow and pick their own.
Edible gardening seems to be growing in popularity lately. From small container gardens, to school gardens, to community gardens, everyone seems to be taking an interest in growing their own food. And with so many resources available to teach you how, getting a garden started has never been easier. There are several venues throughout the city that offer edible gardening workshops, including Van Dusen Gardens, Urban Garden Abundance and Edible Garden Project. There are also several courses offered on the City of Vancouver’s website.
Another great way to start an edible garden is through a community garden. There are over 75 of them located throughout the city. Some of them do have wait lists, but if you’re able to get a spot it’s a great way to meet other gardeners while learning how to grow your own. For a complete listing of the community gardens, visit the City of Vancouver’s website.
If you’re more like me and just want to dive right in, I would recommend starting with a few plants that are, generally, easy to grow. From my experience, the plants that are always successful are peas, carrots, kale and, late in the summer, tomatoes. You can also pick up a few tips at your local garden centre or you can find plenty of helpful advice online. Westcoast Seeds, an organic seed supplier located in Ladner, is a great resource. Their website is full of how-to-grow guides and useful gardening articles. You can also order their seeds online.