When we started Transition Garden some 19 years ago, we asked the question: what does it take to produce more than 50% of the food required to feed one or more families for the whole year? What does it take experientially, not just estimating it on paper? What is the work effort required? What does it feel like in your bones?
Over those years, we’ve answered the question. We built the garden one bed at a time, and slowly added things. Once you have proper infrastructure in place, like a few small greenhouses, good soil in garden beds, a small orchard, vineyard, beehives, berry patches and compost bins, the work load is not as much as you would think. It takes 15-20 hours per week – but it has to be consistent each week from March until October – with perhaps a bit more in the Spring and a bit more in the Fall to preserve the harvests. That work can feed quite a number of people.
Consider your garden to be one of your grocery stores. That’s an important thing to keep in mind. After all – it’s YOUR grocery store, and you control what goes through your check out counter by deciding what to grow. You can even add up the dollar value each time you come into the house with a basket of harvested goodies – it will be worth more than you realize!
Feeding ourselves works even better when we expand it into a community effort. That’s the work in recent years with Transition Garden, as we broaden the gardens into a cooperative community effort. Andre here is building a poly tunnel for tomatoes. The tomato plants were started in the greenhouse back in early March, and will be set out into the poly tunnel in late May, providing them with continuous extra heat for good growth. We hope to get at least 100 pounds of tomatoes out of this bed alone.
Eleanor and Justin have been busy cleaning and prepping other beds, and transplanting starters into those beds – onions, leeks, chard, kale, bok choy and radicchio – all cold hardy crops. We are also direct seeding radish, arugula, dill and cilantro at this time.