Since I was little, my family would garden. Since I was little I developed an interest in gardening. My uncle taught me how to bud different foods together.
obviously, I was growing up to know how to garden, it was a family tradition, if you would say. Since my family moved to Canada, I still continued to garden and encourage my daughter and husband to help me and spend time together.
I am Hindu, which means we like to grow and eat alternanthera sessilis and centella asiatica.
Why do you have a food garden? What got you interested in food gardening in the first place?
Growing my own food is very rewarding
I tend to connect with my family and friends through gardening
Growing my own food is cost effective
Gardening improves my health
I know exactly what I am are eating
Growing my own fresh food, I know exactly what took place while producing them. I was the one to fertilize, water, and nurture them from a small seed into a beautiful well produced plant. When buying vegetables from the store, there is no way of knowing how or where, they were grown. Sometimes we can eat a bad food because of these reasons. Growing my own food reduces the risk of an illness of some sort because I am the one growing and harvesting my crops. I want my family to eat safe and enjoy the fresh food as well.
The second reason is something that I find really important. I usually spend time gardening after work and I find that it helps to relieve stress and increases my overall activity level. Plus, I get a little bit of sunlight which is not bad at all! Having my own garden benefits the whole family, by encouraging them to eat more wholesome and nutritious meals. And I find that my own food is far much more delicious and more flavourful than a store buy item.
I find that prices are steadily increasing. By growing my own food, then preserving (by canning, freezing, or drying) them, I could potentially save a truckload on my food bill. Who doesn’t like the idea of saving money?
I find that growing a food garden does not have to be a solo act. Just getting my whole family involved is so pleasing because we get to spend more time with each other. Giving them a few plants to grow themselves and mentoring them during the process, makes me have a great time watching their excitement when their plant produces it first bloom and then the first fruit. I also have a few of my friends who garden and we love to share gardening tips with each other and even have friendly competitions on who has the biggest tomato for example. Gardening also gives me the opportunity to donate a portion of my crops to the food bank.
For me, nothing can give me a better sense of accomplishment than growing my own fruits and vegetables. Placing a seed in the soil and caring for its growth can be a satisfying experience. It is so comforting that I am using my hard work to produce better meals for my family. Always enjoying a fresh salad with the tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers that came from my garden just makes it worthwhile!
How long have you had a garden? What kinds of food have you grown in your garden?
Over View of garden
How large is your garden? What changes have you made over time?
My garden is about the size of the length of two refrigerators. I have only had this garden for 3 years because we moved and bought this house. 2 years ago, the garden was at least the length of 1 refrigerator, so I wanted to expand the garden and that is when we started growing more vegetables like the eggplant, green peppers and the kale.
What are the advantages of having a home garden? What are the disadvantages?
Having a home garden always makes me happy to know that I can just get the food from my backyard into the kitchen right way.
And to think about it, the food that you buy in the store requires more energy to produce, package, and transport. Why would I buy food that might not be as fresh as mine?
Adding on, having a home garden just gives me that exercise that I need everyday, it helps to burn calories, build up my muscles and muscle function!
Home gardening can require a fairly significant time investment, regardless of which techniques are used. I may even spend several hours each week working on the garden, although, gardening is rewarding in its own right, it is a hobby that requires commitment, hard work and passion.
Furthermore, I have experienced crop loss due to common pests and wildlife, and even for fertilizing the plants; I need to fertilize my plants from compost, which means carrying, stooping, and bending in order to fertilize each plant. Sometimes, I come back from work, tired but I must water the plants and do this many steps!
What difficulties have you had growing produce in your garden? How did you overcome them?
I find that the plants wilt often and this could be because of the lack of moisture in soil. Yet, too much water can lead to poor drainage. The plants can get a disease or not enough light; too much shade. Those where problems that I had, because I saw that the food is taking a longer time than expected to grow. So, for the lack of moisture in the soil, I had to water in but I had to always be careful that I don’t put too much. The plats getting a disease was the most difficult because pests can come and weeds as well grow. For that I had to grow disease-resistant varieties to keep the garden weed free and clean. The other big problem was not getting the right sunlight and that the weather is getting colder. I had to locate the plants somewhere where it can get at least 6 to 8 hours of sun and a warm weather for the plants. So I had two options. I can leave the plants outside and protect them with hot caps, cloches or floating row covers, or, plant the food inside the house on the kitchen windows.
What method did you find best?
Well, I am trying both right now to see which one is better, so I can do it more often, but so far I think the planting the plants outside is doing great, but I just feel that I should do the planting inside as the winter season is coming.
What is the worst feature about having a home garden? What is the best feature of having a home garden?
The worst feature is that you have pests coming and eating my crops and I don't want to spray my food with chemicals to get rid of the pests. It can be very frustrating because I always have to deal with it and try to think of a solution but I just want to have one solution.
The best feature about having a home garden is that I can just enjoy looking at the beautiful food that is growing. I can have the best fresh food with my family, this makes me relaxed and happy that my family can have a health meal every day.
Do you grow any specialty/ethnic foods that you would have difficulty finding (or finding in the quality that you desire) in a local supermarket?
Alternanthera sessilis is very useful in making curry. It is the main ingredient in making it and especially making it handmade, is one of the most great accomplishments and it is very important to me because it was of the many things I taught my daughter to make with me!
My family and I like to get the centella asiatica and make it a salad. It is very healthy towards using it as medicine and it can make you live longer. I want my family to keep eating this herb like we use to in Sri Lanka and understand that it is very useful to the human body.
Through this assignment, I got to know a different culture and their practices on food. Mrs. Sandaramahesan even showed me how to plant a seed and it was a very exciting day, I learned so much! Furthermore, through this assignment, I got to understand more about the types of food and their benefits, as well as knowing interesting facts such as how alternanthera sessilis is used to make curry. I did not even know that such herbs were grown (alternanthera sessilis & centella asiatica). This was a very fun and informational assignment and helped me deeper understand the true meaning of geography of food.