Growing your own
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 07:49 AM ET
By Elizabeth Bridge, CBC Digital Archives writer
The snow's all gone in Toronto, and that's got me casting a critical eye over what passes for a garden in my backyard. I'd really like to go beyond boxes of herbs, lettuce and feeble cherry tomatoes this year, and not just because growing one's own vegetables is suddenly in vogue.
Michelle Obama breaks ground on the White House garden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, FILE)
I grew up eating fresh garden vegetables and berries all summer long, the products of my mother's daily labours in our garden. She grew up on a farm, and growing her own food is just something she's always done. During our annual visits to Winnipeg we enjoy her ultra-local produce, though our trips are regrettably never long enough to encompass both strawberry and raspberry season. My toddler was so delighted by Grandma's fresh peas last summer, she ate them right out of the shell.
Health, great flavour, saving a few bucks and eating locally are some of the reasons I want to grow more of our own food this year. I know we can get all those things from the offerings at the farmer's market, and we do. But the farmer's market can't provide family memories and nostalgia. Plus, there's something satisfying about eating what your own hands have tended, and those are the things I want my daughter to experience.
However, our yard is small and it's home to a large apple tree that, while lovely and fruitful, spreads out a wide canopy whose shade discourages any sun-loving plant. So as the the days get longer and the planting season creeps up, I'm trying to figure out what edibles I can grow in a small space with little sun.
Failing that, what will thrive in movable boxes besides herbs, lettuce and a few cherry tomatoes? The Canadian Press has tips for new gardeners, but I'm a little beyond the abject-beginner stage and look forward to tips from experienced gardeners.
Do you have any tips on good websites or book titles that will help my garden grow? Have you had luck with cultivating veggies in the shade? I'd love to hear your advice.
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About the blog
From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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