As Canada readies itself for this weekend’s thanksgiving, we reflect upon all the abundance and bountiful harvests many of us backyard urban farmers will be enjoying.
I personally have picked around 60 pounds of fruits off my backyard orchard – the various varieties of apples, asian pears, kiwis, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, etc. And regrettably, I’ve also composted almost as much fruit that had dropped to the ground and/or gnawled away by birds and other urban critter visitors.
My back yard is not a very large yard - it’s like any other yard in anyplace, urbancity Canada… approximately 35′ wide by 30′ deep useable growing space, with a big pond off to the side for my local frogs.
I just carefully grow clusters of dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes where it visually makes sense along with where there is good sunshine. Who says landscaping can be boring?
My various vines - kiwis (hairy and non hairy varieties), grapes, clematis and even the pesky morning glory, climb between and amongst all my fruit trees. And what a wonderful green canopy offered by these vines!
As the weather cools off, the leaves off these deciduous vines and trees drop off, so I enjoy full winter sun onto my abode, warming our sunroom and kitchen.
As for veggies… uh, don’t tell my mom nor spouse of this fact, I don’t like veggies.
Uh, yes, the confessions of an urban gardener who loves gardening but dislikes veggies. However, I do grow some of these healthy greens. The ones my neighbours, kids and friends enjoy. So more vines… climbing beans, and more shrubs – tomatoes and the odd leafy vegetable here and there. I did have pumpkins and watermelons at one time, but they just grew big leaves everywhere and obscured all the light for the rest of the plants, so I’ve decided to pass on the pumpkins this year.
So, what’s my beef?
The over abundance of fruits.
I collected over 50 pounds of fresh organically grown fruits a few weeks back (and lots of plums a couple of months back), and had to compost all of them. The lack of space in the fridge and with neighbours tired of eating the same old fruits grown by yours truly, allowed the harvested fruits to rot in the bags at home.
So what to do?
A quick search on the net, found these interesting sites, where excess abundance may be shared with fellow citizens:
Fruit tree project (Vancouver , B.C.) http://www.vcn.bc.ca/fruit/home.html
Vancouver Fruit tree http://www.vancouverfruittree.com/
Lifecycles – Fruit Tree Project (Victoria, B.C.): lifecyclesproject.ca
Guelph Fruit Tree Project (Guelph, Ont.): appleseedcollective.org
Not far from the tree (Toronto) - notfarfromthetree.org/
Hamilton Fruit Tree Project (Hamilton, Ont.) - hamiltonfruittreeproject.blogspot.com
And my own rambling Facebook page:
Vancouver Garden lovers / plant traders - FACEBOOK plant and veggie traders
I’ve got to admit, I initially felt the whole social media networking as a total waste of time, but soon realized its value: as a resource to share things that are passionate to me - like frogs and gardening. But most important, a quick way to message like minded colleagues and friends, for scheduling events and getting the word out on interesting activities… like trading fruits!
I have connected, with caution of course, some interesting facebook people through trading veggies and fruits.
Over the course of the past year and a half, we’ve traded fruits, vegetables, herbs for other growers’ greens, and I myself, have traded a bunch of nice weeds like oregano, basil, lemon balm, and strawberries, for a whole mess of baked goods :-) From brownies, banana bread, cinnamon buns to pies. And best, I’ve made some real great new friends in doing so!
So share your autumn abundance, make friends and build community through your green thumb efforts!