Monday, 31 December 2012

Gardening Trends 2013

Another year has come and gone, am currently teetering right on the edge between 2012 and 2013....

Reflecting on the gardens and making plans for the year ahead ...

Here, in no particular order, are my predictions for gardeners and gardens in the year ahead.

1. Back to the basics ... growing your own groceries aka kitchen gardening.
This trend is really exciting! With all the worries about GMO's, pesticides and herbicides that cause allergies, asthma, and worse in our children, ourselves, and our pets. Growing your own food ... fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and herbs whether in beds, fields or pots, organically and sustainably, getting back to knowing what you are eating and how it was raised. Many nurseries now carry fruits and veggies that can be grown in pots for smaller yards and balconies, dwarf fruit trees that stay manageable in the city lot, making it an easy option to grow a bit of everything to grow your own. 

My own potager, kitchen garden ...
A mix of herbs, fruits, veggies, and flowers.  

2. Putting it up. Canning and freezing your harvest is also taking off as families grow more and more of their own food. What to do with all the fabulous bounty that one grew and harvested? We are all 'putting it up' like our grandmothers did, of course. Nothing better than going to the pantry and making your Christmas dinner from veggies you grew yourself in summer!

Putting up food... to enjoy during the winter months.
Preparing these tomatoes to go into the oven
... for quick 'Sun dried tomatoes'

3. Urban farming.... reconnecting with people through food on a community level, providing food security, education, sustainability, and healthy organic options. This is about more than growing your own veggies, and all about the big picture. With urban sprawl taking up more and more of our land, is about reconnecting with the earth and each other. Community gardens are springing up everywhere, bringing people together, teaching the new generation how to grow and where food really comes from. Providing peace for the soul as one reconnects to the earth by growing on balcony gardens, in community gardens, in back yard gardens, and hopefully in front yards, too, banishing water wasting lawns for good! Is also about buying from your local farmer or farmer's market, touching and smelling the food, talking to the one who grew it. Yes, it's about growing fruits and veggies, but also, raising chickens, the chickens scratching in the garden for bugs and eating your bolting lettuce, raising turkeys for your yuletide dinner, composting to create your own fertiliser, cutting gardens to provide flowers for the table, a bee hive, a toad house, bat house, bird houses and feeders.... the possibilities are endless.

Community gardens, teaching our young to grow their own...
The link to this lovely pic is here

4. Heirlooms grown organically and sustainably ... These guys kind of all tie in together. Growing heirlooms so that when the Zombie Revolution arrives, we are able to take and save the seeds from our fruits and veggies to keep us going from year to year. (Hybrids do not come out true to form if you save the seeds) Back to great tasting vegetables grown organically, which leads to a smaller footprint on our planet and thus sustainability. Growing our own food, in soil that we have fed and improved naturally with composts, worms and worm castings, manures, etc.. rather than just feeding the plant with chemical fertilisers that leach into our water table and leave the soil without the nutrients to grow more the next time around.

Heirloom peppers... Alma Paprika peppers...
Aren't they pretty?
All these colours on the same shrub.... I love growing peppers!

5. Building great soil ... This is a fabulous trend, very exciting that folks now understand that it is actually good soil that feeds our plants, not chemical fertilisers. Making your soil friable, rich, and loamy, full of fabulous worms and beetles to amend the soil and eat the bad bugs. The more you enrich your garden with organics, the better and healthier your food and garden will be, meaning less bad bugs so less spraying, no additional feeding of the plants required, thus better rewards with less work.

6. Companion planting with beneficials .... Interplanting herbs and flowers amongst the fruits and veggies, to bring in the beneficial insects and keep out the bad. Choosing plants that are lovely as well as useful ... herbs that flower, adding beauty and spice to your life, and flowers that keep out bugs and can be also eaten, such as nasturtiums and marigolds. Herbs for both culinary and for medicinal purposes. Such as Chamomile... brings in good bugs, repels bad ones, brightens highlights in blonde hair so great for washing/rinsing your hair, makes a fabulous tea, and also provides a stunning ground cover alternative to a lawn. See more on companion planting here.

Marigolds are super companion plants, are edible, and lovely to look at, too. .  

7. Drought tolerant plantings to conserve water and time.... This trend is all about planting drought tolerant plants, native plants, and the right plants in the right locations to provide a lovely space that fits the location and so requires less time, money and energy to care for it. With water restrictions becoming more common during the hot, dry, summer months, gardening with plants that require less, little to no extra water, is a wise and wonderful thing. Plants such as echinacea, rudbeckia, succulents and ground covers instead of lawns. Save the water for growing your groceries, as veggies tend to require regular watering and most municipalities will allow you to water your food crops but not your ornamentals.

Lavender, and most other herbs like Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme,
are very drought tolerant, requiring no extra watering in the gardenscape.
8. Smarter water usage... rain gardens, rain barrels, drip watering. Drip watering your plants with a drip hose is a much more effective way to water than hose or sprinkler, getting the water to where it is needed the most with very little evaporation and water waste.
Collecting rain in a barrel for watering your gardens, or grey water from your washing is saving you money and saving our run off water for something very useful instead of just waste water.
Rain gardens are a great idea to capture the runoff from your driveways, pathways, and hardscaping, collecting and then filtering the water, cleaning it before it enters the groundwater system. This cuts down on erosion, on pollution, and thereby also benefits our lakes, rivers, ponds and oceans.

A how to on building a  rain garden here

9. Going vertical ... Growing upwards is becoming a huge trend. It adds colour and beauty as well as increasing ones available growing space. Growing up on trellises, walls, strings, and cages takes up less ground space, and increases the bounty. Think peas and beans on towers or teepee's, heirloom tomatoes growing on strings ( see here for more on stringing up tomatoes), squash, melons, and cukes are very effective when grown on a trellis, allowing for lettuces, carrots, etc... to be planted at the base. Here is a link on growing vertically on a huge scale, with skyfarms!

Early in the year, the tomatoes are all strung up in the greenhouse ....

10. And finally, the most important prediction of all, is not mine at all, but as always, the Panetone colour of the year. Panetone simply rules at picking 'colour of the year' ....
Therefore, 2013 is all about ...EMERALD GREEN!
Fabulous garden colour, in pots, in planters, gates, doors ... and even barns!

This pic is from Pintrest and This is THE COLOUR for 2013 .. and I love it!

June Garden Ramblings

We have had a very dry and hot month of May but there is hope on the horizon, rain seems to be forecast over the next few days. Fingers ...