As the price of fruits and vegetables has steadily increased since the start of this pandemic, the importance of food self-sufficiency is being confirmed. Enjoyable and useful to some, urban farming has become a truly essential practice for many people.
According to the Canadian Consumer Food Price Report released last December, the rise in food prices will continue into 2021 and will likely exceed the rate of inflation. Written by professors and researchers from four major Canadian universities, this report forecasts a 3 to 5% increase in food spending by Canadian households, or $ 695 more this year. Meats as well as fresh vegetables are the foodstuffs most affected, with an increase that could reach 6.5%.
On the other hand, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that nearly 1 million Canadian households are unable to obtain healthy food, that is to say to have access to a diversified diet which includes, in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition to the pandemic that has affected the balance of food networks, this significant increase in the price of food is also explained by the forest fires that ravaged California last fall and the disturbances caused by climate change, which are affecting more and more to cultures.
Reclaim your food
Photo courtesy, Morningchores.com
By growing indoors during the winter, your seedlings can be transplanted into the garden in the spring.
The enthusiasm for gardening and urban agriculture was unprecedented last summer. Thus, according to some surveys, one in five people started a garden in Canada in 2020. Among the 3.5 million Quebec households, some 2.9 million of them practice gardening, or 83%. Of these, it is estimated that two-thirds grow vegetables and herbs in their garden or on their balcony! In short, this need that citizens have to grow their own fruits and vegetables is much more than a passing fad!
The practice of urban agriculture is undoubtedly the best way to gain a certain food autonomy and to reduce our dependence on industrial food networks. And it is not necessary to have access to a piece of land to create a vegetable garden or to wait for the arrival of spring to grow vegetables, since it can be done on a balcony, a roof, or even on inside a house!
A vegetable garden begins with seeds
If you want to make a vegetable garden, you must start with seedlings made indoors and which can then be transplanted outdoors in spring. You can also create a vegetable garden in your house now to obtain crops in the heart of winter!
Several species of vegetable plants can be grown indoors. Those that are best suited to growing indoors are without a doubt the herbs and fast-growing vegetables whose leaves are eaten, such as Swiss chard, spinach, kale and lettuce. You can also grow other edible plants that take a little longer to develop, such as broccoli, corn, peas and sunflowers, but these plants are then harvested when they are still young as sprouts or seeds. young plants.
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Tomatoes can also be grown indoors, in containers, under artificial lighting. However, it is best to opt for compact shrub cultivars, such as ‘Tiny Tim’, ‘Totem’ or ‘Tumbling Tom’, for example. With regular fertilizer applications, you can also grow indoors cucumbers, eggplants and peppers that produce small fruits, such as those in the Lunch Box series, for example. The pollination of all these plants must, on the other hand, be carried out by hand, with a brush, otherwise fruit production will be very low or even nonexistent.
The importance of soil
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Do not hesitate to be creative in your seedlings.
It is possible to plant your vegetables and herbs in simple pots, boxes or plastic trays recovered. Make sure the containers you use are well cleaned, ideally disinfected with bleach if they have been used for seedlings in the past. In addition, in order to prevent water from evaporating and not having to water constantly, you can cover your seedling containers with clear plastic domes. If water droplets form on the walls of the dome, then it must be opened slightly for a few hours so that the excess moisture evaporates.
A nutritious soil
The potting soil you use for your seedlings must above all be light, well ventilated and it must retain water and nutrients well. It is recommended to use a commercial substrate specially designed for seedlings, consisting of compost, sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Moisten the soil well before using it. Once the potting soil is mixed and moistened, pour it into a container and level its surface well.
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Tomato and cucumber plants.
Some seeds should not be buried under the potting soil since light is necessary for their germination, while others should be covered with a layer of potting soil of about 6 mm because they need darkness to germinate. Carefully read the instructions on the seed packets since it specifies whether the seeds should be covered with potting soil or not, and also gives the optimum temperature for germination.
The sunlight that enters through the windows of a house or apartment is not always sufficient to ensure good plant growth. So, once they’ve sprouted, your vegetable plants should ideally be placed under lights that work with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that offer a light spectrum similar to that of the sun.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116