11 October 2013
Urban Gardening, The Challenges
As more of us people with diabetes are told to eat more fresh produce, our supermarkets know that we are looking for fresh produce. Even then, the produce is several days old and not truly fresh as the grocery chains would like us to believe. Three or more days old are not fresh any longer. What are we to do if we don't live on an acreage and do our own gardening?
I wish I could do just that and be able to garden, but apartment living does not allow this to happen. Even the owner of the building won't allow gardening in the manicured lawns. No one near us will allow gardening and this means traveling to surrounding farms, which even many of them don't want. I finally located one farmer where we can get fresh eggs and some produce during the summer, but not enough to satisfy a family of two. Plus, the selection is limited to what they don't or can't process and not what some of our choices would include. This means no beans, no peas, and many other of my choices of vegetables. Plus many of the selections are past their prime when we are notified to come and harvest.
May I am just used to too many years of good fruits and vegetables harvested at their prime and canned or frozen beyond what we consumed in our daily meals. Mother and Dad always planned the plantings to spread out the harvest and prolong what we had fresh for the daily meals. Plus the canner was always kept busy once harvest started and the prime picking was for the daily meals or frozen.
This article was a pleasant surprise to find; however, many will not gain from this, but still is an interesting article even with the hazards it brings out. The concept of local food and urban gardening is gaining popularity as urban agriculture, with its benefits and obstacles, and is coming to many cities.
“The benefits of urban agriculture are many. Urban gardens are often built on previously unused lots, increasing the beauty and value of the neighborhood. They provide recreation opportunities and a social network for the gardeners involved. Urban food production also means that healthy, fresh produce is readily available to city dwellers.”
The challenges that organizers and growers face need to be understood and conquered if urban gardens are to take hold and even be profitable. Many of the obstacles, planners and growers face include soil contaminants, water availability, and changes in climate and atmospheric conditions.
Of the contaminants found in urban soils, lead is the most prevalent. Even though there is concern about plants taking up lead from the soils, research shows plants take up very little and in fact, it is less than we are exposed to from drinking water. Practices such as washing food before eating and covering soils with mulch can decrease these risks. Finding reliable and safe water sources can be difficult for urban gardeners. Using drip irrigation that will deliver water where and when it is needed can conserve water.