Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Urban Gardening

A lovely Chicken Coop and Chickens for their Eggs Only

A hops pole for the hops plant for their homebrewed beers

I know a lovely, hardworking young couple who wish to remain anonymous, but were willing to let me take pictures of their Urban Garden and talk to me about the many different plants they are cultivating on their property right in city limits here in Jefferson City, MO.

They have chickens and the coop her husband made in a day, but he also milled the cedar logs himself, which took a bit more time...They let the chickens out every evening 6 chickens total that they raised from chicks. They are interested only in the chicken eggs and have no plans to butcher for meat.
As for how they choose what to plant in the 4,500 sq. ft they have to work with, their philosophy is simple: Edible plants 1st, Medicinal plants 2nd and Native plants Only 3rd. They have over 300 species of plants between the front and back yard and of course including both sides of their home. Not everyone has the time or inclination to build such an amazing an diverse haven for themselves, but these are extremely self reliant folks of whom I am blogging about and neither have reached the age of 25 yet and are raising 2 little ones both under 3 yrs of age.

Here is just a modest listing of some of the variety of plants they are cultivating:
Hops were planted for use in their own beer making hobby, as well as growing their own tobacco for their personal and sacred enjoyment.
They have asparagus, red rasberries, black berries, strawberries, mint and lavendar, sweet potatoes, all kinds of fruit and nut bearing trees planted, sasafrass trees, witch hazel, rose hips, garlic, calendula, purple echinacia, black eye'd susansbergamont, st. johns wort, asters, cup plants, asian plumb tree, juniper berries and one of the Mothers favorite plants is a large, lush sumac growing at the front of the house, when the berries are ready it yeilds a lovely pink lemonade that is enjoyed by her family, and like many of the plants, honors and pleases her Native American Roots. The lady of the house said after years of intensive gardening the best method she has found to garden is the Lasagna gardening style. (Lasagna Gardening. You can get the book at your local library or online writen by Patriticia Lanza)

They are not the only ones doing it either, often as I walk or bicycle around town I always notice peoples gardens. Some are small, some are big...doesn't matter. What interests me is that people can and do transform bits of yard into lush food and flowers yielding a heaven in an urban setting. It ranks high on my list of activity that I find truly admirable in others. It inspires me to find my own way to cultivate the backyard of my home into something that I can take endless joy in. Something I can do with my youngest son Sage. Teaching him how to work in and with the earth so that he understands the deep connection we have with nature and so that I have a sacred outdoor space to pour my heart, body and mind into while connecting with Mother Earth on a daily and consistent basis.
What could be more lovely than watching the seeds I plant with loved ones grow and yield food for us to enjoy with each other and share our rich bounty with friends?

I invite you to take a moment and consider the resources around you, no matter where you live. If there is any way to make a space for such activities, consider giving it a try. You will be so thrilled when you pluck your first Zucchini or Cucumber out of your very own patch. And it tastes better than any of the produce you can buy in the store...lets face it, food with the freshest, highest life force energy is freshly picked. Thats a difference you can taste and feel!

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