Lower your grocery bills and carbon footprint

Make this the year you break ground – on your own vegetable garden!

It’s no secret that higher food prices are straining many budgets.  And food can be a significant portion of a family’s carbon budget too (especially for diets heavy in animal products).

So here’s a simple strategy to help address both of those problems: why not grow your own vegetable garden?  It doesn’t have to be large; you don’t need to spend a fortune on garden equipment; you don’t need previous experience; and you don’t even need a lot of space.  Homegrown veggies are cheap and local; you can trust that they’re free of chemicals and contaminants because you’ve grown them yourself; they give you a measure of food security; and they can be fun to watch growing!

Ready to try it?  Here are a few tips:

  • If it’s your first time, start small.  Dig up a little corner of your yard, or get some window or patio boxes, or build a raised bed, or get a large pot you can place on your balcony.  Don’t overlook the potential of small spaces!  Or if your ambitions are larger than your available space, look into getting a plot at a local community garden.  You can get topsoil, potting soil or organic matter from your local garden center.
  • Choose veggies that appeal to you and fit your growing situation and tastes.  The following are usually quite easy to grow: lettuce; spinach; radish; beets; onions; carrots; cucumbers; and bush beans.  (I’m also partial to potatoes – pretty easy to grow as long as you can avoid beetles and blight!)  Some good guidance on planting depth, seed spacing and thinning here.
  • Have some fun with the younger helpers in your crew by trying unusual crops like green cauliflower, purple carrots or – if space allows – Atlantic Giant pumpkins.
  • Keep soil moist by regular watering.  Most plants don’t do well in soggy conditions, so be careful not to overwater – especially important for plants in containers that don’t have drain holes.
  • Be prepared to add a little fertilizer or organic matter from time to time, especially if your plants start to look a bit pale or tired
  • Enjoy the mind-clearing benefits of tending to your plants and watching them grow; and then the fruits of your labour: fresh, cheap, local and low-carbon-footprint!

Happy gardening!

In the news:

Take that, Putin: Germany adds over 1200 MW* of new wind and solar power in just one month, and plans to ban new oil and gas heating systems next year.  (*Perspective: 1200 MW is nearly three times the output of NB Power’s coal-fired Belledune Generating Station.)

The International Energy Agency predicts EV sales will increase 35% this year, on track to reduce global oil demand by 5 million barrels/day by 2030.
Cleaner, quieter: many municipalities are banning the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers to encourage adoption of electric alternatives.


“Mothers bring relentless determination because you will do anything for your kids and we’re not going to give up or go away.”

  • Maya Mailer, co-founder of UK climate parent group Mothers Rise Up

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