Follow Me Foodie’s Kashi Giveaway & tips on urban gardening!
Remember that “Plant it Forward” initiative (#PlantItForward) where Kashi Canada partnered with Evergreen to plant 18 urban gardens across Canada? Well here’s the proof and some event photos from the program.
The first two photos are the before and after of the transformed space. The bottom photos are the children in action. It’s a pleasure seeing children connect with their food and I hope the collaborative effort continues even after the campaign.
I wrote an article about the downside to urban farming, so you might find it unusual that I wrote this post. I also started the article with “I’d better start by saying I am not against urban agriculture but I do like to play devil’s advocate, think critically, and encourage discussion.”. I never addressed the other side of the argument and the pros of urban gardening, so this is a great opportunity to do so.
“Urban gardens engage and empower youth and residents to develop a deeper understanding of food and where real food comes from. When caregivers and kids cultivate their own fruits and vegetables, not only do they connect with nature, but they gain a love and appreciation for healthier, more nutritious and organic foods,” says Ashlee Cooper, Project Manager, Urban Agriculture, Evergreen. “The simple addition of an urban garden in a community has the power to encourage healthy physical, educational and social development in the entire neighbourhood.”
The popularity of urban gardening has quickly turned into somewhat of a trend, which isn’t necessarily a bad sign, but there’s an educational process which is often overlooked. It’s not as simple as taking seeds, planting them and watering them, and there’s upkeep to ensure successful gardens. If farming is not done properly then it prevents growth and the land becomes wasted space.
So let’s try to avoid this.
I don’t want to scare you off and discourage you from trying either, I mean if kids are learning from the ground up, so can adults. Following by example is just one method of encouraging a younger generation to participate in this food movement, but let’s make sure we’re setting proper examples.
I interviewed Tara Nolan, Kashi’s gardening expert and co-founder of Savvygardening.com for tips on successful urban gardening.
Follow Me Foodie to an Interview with Tara Nolan: Tips on Successful Urban Gardening
1) What vegetables should and should not be grown together?
The one popular trio of vegetables that Native American groups relied upon was called The Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. The corn provided natural support for the bean plants, while the spiny leaves and stems of the squash deterred certain pests. Other plants that grow well together include tomatoes with basil and parsley, or tomatoes with asparagus, and radishes do well planted near root vegetables like beets and carrots.
There are several combinations of veggies that don’t thrive off each other. For example, keep beans and peas separate from garlic and onions; cucumbers don’t do well near potatoes; and surprisingly, cabbage and lettuce do not grow well together.
2) Which vegetables are best grown organically?
Any vegetable can be grown organically. Gardeners starting out may want to focus on growing some of the “dirty dozen” list so they can avoid buying them from the supermarket: strawberries, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peas and potatoes.
3) Are there any herbs that can be planted next to a vegetable that would act as a natural pesticide? How do you avoid bugs eating fruit before they ripen?
Sometimes it’s hard to control what sneaks into your garden for a snack, but there are measures you can take to try and use other plants as a natural pest control. I mention some of them in this post here.
4) What tips do you have for people with limited gardening space?
It’s not hard to reap a generous harvest from a sunny balcony or tiny patio. You can grow fruits and veggies in containers or even hanging baskets. If you have a small growing area, use trellises or stakes to train plants like peas, small squash and cucumbers to grow up rather than out. Look for patio varieties of tomatoes that are smaller and more compact plants.
5) What are the most common mistakes people make when they start gardening?
I would say one mistake is not reading the plant tag. Different plants have different care requirements – light, water, fertilizer, etc. Paying attention to those plant tags will help you nurture your plants throughout the season. Also over- or under-watering could limit a new gardener’s success.
6) Does the type of water (tap, filtered, natural etc.) really make a difference on how something grows?
I try to use water from my rain barrel whenever possible, but when it’s dry I have to turn to the tap and from what I can tell I’ve never had a problem with how my crops have grown.
7) What quality of brand of soil do you recommend for growing vegetables? What should we look for?
It’s hard to recommend a specific brand because it might not be sold everywhere. I’m surrounded by nurseries and they all seem to carry different brands. But what I would look for is organic soil for either containers or small gardens from a reputable company (you can Google the name to do a little research) and organic compost that can be applied to the garden to enrich the soil. I’ve used everything from mushroom to shrimp to cow manure compost!
Follow Me Foodie’s Kashi Giveaway!
Grand prize: A selection of new Kashi Cereals and snack offerings.
· Kashi Plant-it Forward Seeds
· A Set of Ergonomic Hand Tools
· A Soil and PH Meter
· Multi-Pattern Water Gun
How to enter:
1) Share the Kashi online video on social media using the #PlantItForward hashtag. Comment on this post with the shared link.
2) Tweet: Enter to win a @KashiFoods prize pack http://bit.ly/1k8oXzw via @FollowMeFoodie by sharing the #PlantItForward video http://bit.ly/1lLX1YK
CONTEST CLOSES Sunday, June 1, 11:59PM.
Terms & Conditions:
1. Contest open to Canadian residents.
2. FollowMeFoodie.com and Kashi Canada retain the right to approve entries.
3. Prize not negotiable, cannot be exchanged or taken as cash.