Pandemics are tragic and bring with them much trial and grief. However, one of the good things that resulted from 2020 was the nationwide increase in people who are now cooking at home (Family meals shared around a dining room table feed much more than just our stomachs).
In short order, food availability and security became an issue. Many were unsure if their local supermarkets were going to be open or have a surplus of grocery items available. Interest in gardening turned from a pastime or hobby to a possible necessity. Almost overnight, seed companies were hit hard, and there was a national shortage of canning and food preservation supplies.
Completely by accident, those who didn’t have time to design a garden or purchase building materials discovered a valuable lesson. Food can be grown in just about any type of container or setting by simply planting some seeds. I have seen many, many photos where people grew edibles on their patios, balconies, stairwells, driveways and in their flowerbeds with very little training or gardening knowledge, and they were quite successful.
With so many having limited access to yard space, people learned firsthand that planting tomatoes and marigolds together in a pot on their porch was not only beautiful, but it was edible—and it works. Who knew? Horticultural segregation of edibles and ornaments is completely unnecessary! Your flowers and food CAN grow together, and you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. This idea has revolutionized the thinking of many. Instead of landscaping, people are now “foodscaping.”
Foodscaping sets the dial somewhere between landscaping and farming. It makes allowances for those who want and need to enjoy beautiful outdoor living spaces that are filled with ornamentals and those who desire fresh, homegrown food. It’s a creative way to garden and can be done on a skinny budget or become quite elaborate and a strategic work of art.
With spring right around the corner, let me suggest that you consider doing some foodscaping of your own. Whether you desire expensive ceramic pots, heavy-duty raised beds and a compost-rich row garden, or you’re happy using plastic, repurposed containers with holes poked in the bottoms, there is hope, and you’re on the brink of something wonderful!
In Eccl. 11:6 we read, “Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether one or the other will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” Friends, we are not called to be idle, but rather we are to work diligently. I’ve always said that the worst time to plan for an emergency is when you’re in the middle of one.
Start by taking an inventory of your growing spaces. If you own or rent your home, odds are you have plenty of unused areas that could be used for growing that you just haven’t considered. Seek inspiration. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are so many gardeners posting pictures of their work. Look for images that appeal to your interest, color schemes or style, and use their ideas to help get you started and to inspire your own.
Start simple and use the traditional container gardening method of a “spiller,” a “thriller” and a “filler.” Choose plants that will spill over the rim of a container for a cascading effect; plants that stand tall with eye appeal or produce fruit as your thriller, and plants that provide foliage and color as your filler. There are many vegetables and flowers that will work.
Last year, many people found themselves in a crisis and were unsure if they knew how to grow food if they needed to feed themselves. Now is the perfect time to begin to educate yourself. Make a plan and then try your hand at it when the weather warms up. Whether you decide to tackle your whole backyard or just a small space on your patio, determine to plant things that will fill your world with beauty and your kitchen with food.
God has given us sharp minds and willing hands. Let’s use both to create beautiful and edible things that bring Him glory.