Secret #1 – Learn to Grow Food


In my last post I said I have many secrets. And this is the first post in which I’ll share with you my hopes in becoming less reliant on the machine created by man. Through the use of technology and ancient wisdom we do indeed have the knowledge today to become more independent and in essence get off that damn grid either completely or in the least partially.

I am teaching myself how to grow food. This undertaking began three summers ago on my deck in containers in Vancouver. I miss that apartment and deck something awful at times. The view brings tears to my eyes and floods my senses with memories so vivid and very much alive today in a most humble and appreciative way.

North West View of deck garden in Vancouver.

I am far from being able to produce enough to consume during a whole year or even a few months, however, each year my gardens do yield more and more. This year combined with the help and knowledge from both my Mom and Dad we grew some fantastic food!

Brussels Sprouts

We fertilized using only local organic oceanic and manure compost that we purchased or had ourselves. By growing your own food you not only know where your food is coming from; you will eat healthy, get in shape, save the environment and be all the more closer to not having to rely on imports to eat.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

In 2007 I did begin the planting of that years garden in Vancouver. It grows in other parts of that world now. I gave it all away, left it behind or sold what I could when I left for good. About a week after arriving back in Saint John from Vancouver I turned soil with my Dad in the backyard, and closed this blog down for two months to gather myself.

It is amazing that years can pass in the blink of an eye. You can see the full Garden 2008 set on Flickr here. And if you are on my facebook there are even more photos! Feel free to add me as a friend from the top left sidebar of this blog.


Photo Credits, © Jessica Doyle 2008
1. 2008 Garden Montage – Saint John
2. Garden 2006 – Vancouver looking West from the deck
3. 2008 Brussels Sprouts – Saint John
4. 2008 Rainbow Swiss Chard – Saint John
5. 2008 Early Bird Tomatoes – Saint John (Although in this climate they are late…)
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16 thoughts on “Secret #1 – Learn to Grow Food”

  1. That is very pretty chard… how do you cook yours?

    I do not have a garden, (me and plants? not so much. I am trying to keep ferns and a cast iron plant alive) but around here we are blessed with a year-round growing season, so you can pretty much eat local vegetables all the time if you like.

  2. Candice – We have about 4 to 5 months maximum in which we can grow here in Saint John. In Vancouver it was about 8 months. I miss that. Hope fully once i have my own property I’ll build a greenhouse and extend that 4 months to 8 :)

    This is how I cook the chard – I cook the stems and leaves whole without cutting them up as it shrinks just like spinach once cooked. I wash each piece separately to get the dirt off and use just the water left on the leaves for cooking. Add each leaf once clean immediately to the pot.

    Use a pot about the size of a dutch over. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of celery salt over it and set it to high heat until it begins to boil/simmer with the cover on. If you feel there isn’t enough water which is the case sometimes before beginning to cook add about 1/8 of a cup extra only. Once simmering reduce heat to low/medium and stir occasionally until it is tender and before it loses it’s colour. I find the reds can leach out completely if overcooked. Haha!

    Add some butter or margarine and a pinch of salt and enjoy :)

  3. That’s an interesting way… I tend to boil mine a bit in salted water and then saute it in olive oil with some onions and occasionally garlic.

    (Italian girl standard approach to vegetables is to put them in a frying pan with some olive oil and let them get browned.)

    Oh, and so my mother today sent me home with a few paintings I did in highschool… Eep.

  4. I’ll try that Candice… I could use some garlic right now as I seem to have picked up the flew that is going around here.

    High School paintings how cool! Are you posting them? I’d love to see them :)

  5. Not sure I will post them. My sister’s work blows everything of mine away, really, and she is the prominent artist in my house.

  6. wow, those are good picks. And growing your own vegetables is great. But really Brussels Sprouts ? Really? There are some foods, I believe, that were grown long ago because the climate and soil and what not didn’t allow for other crops to be grown. And so people grew and ate foods that were perhaps not so tasty, but would at lest give them some nourishment, or simply add some bits of solid to the broth they would be eating for the next month or two. Children were forced to eat such foods, and generation after generation people grew up eating them, hating and scorning them, but also forcing their kids to suffer in much the same way they had. Eventually it came that these foods were no longer scorned as they should be, but somehow looked back on with longing and reverence. And now they are grown and served as parts of gourmet meals. Brussels Sprouts clearly fall into this category. As do asparagus, cauliflower, water chestnuts and eggplant. And don’t even get me started on beets. :)

  7. adsunderland – I love the taste of brussels sprouts and they love to grow big and healthy in the foggy cold climate that I live in during the summer.

    What an interesting story you just shared… almost like the one about why gravy was created. Gravy was created to mask the stench and taste of rotten meat so that people could actually eat it in days gone by. I hate to think about what the meat actually smelled like and what that meat did to people’s insides. Now we create gravy as part of the meal because it’s simply tasty.

    I have to laugh out loud for all those foods you mention above…

    As do asparagus, cauliflower, water chestnuts and eggplant. And don’t even get me started on beets.

    …I love to eat! 😉

  8. I’d have to take one for you, I have the bottom of it kinda in a picture of my desk. I’ll see if I can remember to do that in the daytime sometime…

    It has faded slightly since that was taken – transportation, mostly, that and it was a homework assignment and was not treated quite like Art for a little while.

  9. Oh, I understand the “not treated like art for a little while”. Many of my early works were shoved into plastic bags or tacked to a wall and not stored properly.

    Don’t worry about the picture. If you take you do and if not don’t worry 😉

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