Sowing densely in raised beds makes the most of limited space
Odlum Brown VP Christina Anthony gardens in Vancouver with her four kids so they will appreciate fresh, healthy food
I have been gardening with my children since 2007. They range from age seven through age 11. I think it’s important for the kids to know where food comes from, to understand that they can grow their own, and what it means to build something and grow something.
My grandma was a farmer in Richmond. Our house was down the street. I grew up running in the fields, grabbing peas and eating them in between the rows, and coming with big pails and buckets of peas and blueberries and anything we could pick from her garden. My mom was more into ornamental flower gardening, so it’s like it skipped a generation.
I loved the science experiment nature of it. The first couple of years, we experimented to see what can you grow in this climate and then focused on what we like to eat and what can also look nice—you want your yard to look pretty but still be as functional and useful as possible.
We have two huge herb sections by the back door. And we grow beans, peas, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, radishes, garlic and various lettuces: arugula is my signature thing. Nine years ago I bought a Sylvetta arugula plant from Southlands Nursery, and my plant still exists. My friends and family joke that if we have the apocalypse, my arugula is going to live. We probably get 15 huge harvests a year.
In the front yard, I grow my pumpkins up an arbour. I’ve made almost like a blueberry hedge, and we have this special squashed version of raspberry called Raspberry Shortcake. We bought a bunch of them to make a mini hedge. We have six apple trees, and strawberries are the thing that my kids just love, so we use them for most of our groundcover.
The most fun part for the kids is to harvest. They will grab carrots and basically just rub them off and eat them. Their most fun is the potato harvest. We all get pretty dirty and get heaps of awesome potatoes.