Our Backyard Creation: A Gluten-Free Organic Garden
On the Easter weekend, we started to build an organic garden in our backyard. With this new garden, we are hoping to grow high yield gluten-free crops to support our goal of eating fresh, local, organic produce. My husband, a mechanical engineer, is quite talented with our home based projects and he is doing a lovely job with this garden. We now have water barrels to collect rain water, a composting system, a new gardening preparation area, and a garden that is ten times larger than the small children’s size garden that we previously had. We are hoping to grow, tomatoes, broad beans, peas, potatoes, carrots, beets, leeks, onions, parsnips, asparagus, berries, grapes, various types of lettuce, and many different herbs in our new garden. We are currently researching types of plants, planning the layout for planting, and reviewing various sites to buy seeds for new types of plants.
This idea blossomed because my husband and I have a natural love for gardening, we enjoy unusual colors or types of fruits and vegetables, and we are attempting to eat organic and local as much as possible. My father had a large vegetable garden when I was a young girl. I remember helping him in the garden and recall the wonderful taste of fresh foods and the pleasure of picking something that we grew. Similarly, my husband assisted his parents with their garden and developed his appreciation for gardening and nature through them. Therefore, gardening for us is a hobby that we mutually share, not a chore. We hope to pass this love and knowledge of gardening on to our children so that they can pass it on to their family. I believe it is a valuable skill, teaches our children about botany, and adds to the fresh supply of local produce that we can use to create tasty nutritious dishes for our family. As with most home gardens, all of our home grown produce will be naturally gluten-free.
We do have one challenge though, our children have two dwarf bunnies, Blossom and Lucas, who share our backyard with us. On nice days they can be seen frolicking around the yard, scooting in and out of our flower plants. I quite like having them there as it adds to the kid’s fun and I have to laugh at their amusing stunts/antics. So far, they haven’t eaten my Hostas or any of my other plants. I hope this continues for our new garden as well. Regardless, they are part of the family so we will have to work around them. There will likely be some other additional challenges that we will encounter as our garden evolves. I look forward to this learning curve and will share our challenges as well as our successes (and pictures) in some future posts.
My Family And I Identified 10 Benefits With Creating And Maintaining An Organic Garden
1. Our love of gardening will be shared with our children. They will learn about designing, planning, and building a garden area. As well, they will learn about water conservation, composting, and how to problem solve when we work through the challenges of organic gardening.
2. Gardening together as a family is a great way to spend some quality time together. You can chat while you are creating. My husband is also building an informal cooking area (rustic Jaimie Oliver style) with benches in the middle of the garden which promotes discussion while preparing food together.
3. We really enjoy picking our fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. They taste great fresh and we know they have not been artificially ripened (see the movie “Food INC” for more details). Our kids eat snow peas, grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes fresh off the plant while they are playing in the back yard in the summer. This is very nutritious and promotes healthy eating. Their friends join in on play dates.
4. Everything growing in our garden will be 100% gluten-free:)
5. We can grow a wide variety of herbs and fresh fruits/vegetables (with unusual colors) for our gluten-free dishes.
6. It is good for the environment to buy local or grow your own food instead of buying food that has been shipped from miles away. (I still do buy some products such as pineapples and bananas that have been shipped).
7. Organic gardening will provide us with food that is free of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and that has grown and ripened naturally.
8.The rain barrels will provide chemical-free water for our plants and and helps to conserve water.
9. Composting will help decrease our garbage and will provide nutrient rich fertilizer for our plants.
10. Hopefully, organic gardening will benefit us financially too since it may be cheaper to grow organic food, than to buy it.
Overall, I’m suspecting the benefits will outweigh the challenges. Once the summer is over and everything has been harvested, then I can evaluate whether organic gardening is worth the time and effort we have invested. If you are an organic gardener or if you have an organic gardening blog, please share tips with us or provide a link to your blog below. Thank you!
Note: If you have a very small backyard or only a sunny balcony to garden on, then container gardening can work well. I have grown snow peas, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce successfully in pots which was great for my kids when they were young. Each child had their own pot to care for. It was a great learning experience. Many other personal benefits can be gained too. For me, gardening is a way to relax, share, and promote a connection with nature.