The world is changing; build a vegetable garden

Well, it’s a damned crazy world out there.

On one hand, things haven’t really changed all that much for me. I have been working from home as a freelance graphic designer for the last 10 years, so it’s not great hardship for me to stay home. I actually prefer it.

On the other hand, I gotta say it’s pretty eerie driving anywhere right now. We went into town the other evening, to do some ATM banking and fill up with gas, and we saw 3 cars, and only 2 people. One of the people was the gas station attendant, who was gloved and masked, and wiping the store down with bleach. Yeah, eerie.

But all in all, things have been pretty serene around here. The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia has a small population – just under 30,000 – so we don’t have the troubles that a larger center might have.

We have been carrying on pretty much as usual at home. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks laying in firewood for next winter, and generally doing spring maintenance around the property. And of course, getting the garden planted.

We don’t have to build a vegetable garden, because we built it last year. This year we topped all the beds off with a couple inches or more of homemade compost, and let the seeding begin!

Planting the garden
All of the April seeds are in. More to come in May. I have covered the snow peas because something finds them especially tasty.

A vegetable garden can take care of you

As far as I’m concerned, growing a vegetable garden is the smartest thing you can do right now. There are many benefits to growing a vegetable garden:

  • Eating truly fresh food
  • Keeping your body health
  • Saving money
  • Making fewer trips to town
  • Absorbing lots of vitamin D from the sun
  • Getting exercise
  • Having fun
  • Keeping your spirits up during a difficult time
Radish seedlings
Tiny radish seedlings poking up in the garden. Hardy little buggers!

Taking control of your food system has never been more important. And when you learn how to grow truly healthy, beyond-organic food, you will also be taking control of your health. Many of our health problems stem from eating overly processed foods that wreak havoc on our intestinal flora. If we can get back to eating unpasteurized, unprocessed, homegrown food that hasn’t been sprayed with toxins, we will begin to see its effects in our health.

When you grow a vegetable garden, aside from eating fresh, beyond-organic vegetables every day, you can turn those vegetables into an even healthier form of food: fermented vegetables. If you have done any research at all, you may have read that fermented veggies are among the healthiest things you can put into your body.

Do fermented vegetables boost the immune system?

Now, remember, I’m not a doctor or a scientist; so take what I say and do your own research. There are many studies online that show that gut health plays an extremely important role in maintaining overall health. Fermented vegetables are a big step toward getting your intestines populated with beneficial bacteria.

Immune system boosting is a big topic of conversation these days. People are trying anything and everything to keep healthy, in case they come into contact with COVID-19. Fermented vegetables are a big part of how we are keeping ourselves healthy.

I don’t think you can do much better for yourself than taking care of your intestines. There is more and more research showing that probiotics are a big player in gut health, and gut health is a big player in our overall health and immunity.

I urge you to give fermented veggies a try. Not only are they super healthy for you, but they taste great! Sharp and tangy, and – if you put in hot peppers like I do – spicy too! I put them on just about everything I eat – I top off a plate of stir-fry with a couple of tablespoons (or five!), or add some to my bowl of soup or stew. I’ve even added them as a cool topping on my pizza, after I take it out of the oven.

You don’t want to get fermented vegetables hot, as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria you are trying to introduce to your gut. Just add them to your meal after it is cooked and served. It will add a whole new layer of taste sensation. I love it.

So far I’ve only made mixed veggie ferments. But this summer I’m going to make fermented pickles with dill and garlic, fermented carrots with dill, fermented salsa, and fermented hot sauce with the cayenne peppers I’m growing. Muy caliente!

Another fantastic thing about fermented vegetables is that if you have a cold place to store them – a basement, garage, cold room, or root cellar – you don’t need to use any power. What a great savings THAT would be. I love the image of cold room lined with shelves of fermented veggies to get me through the year. Yum.

two gallons of fermented vegetables
This ferment includes red cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeño peppers. It smells wonderful.

The times they are a changin’

We have been lulled into a false sense of security, thinking the grocery stores will always be full of food; the gas stations will always have fuel; and the pharmacy will always have the pills to make us happy.

Yeah, no. We need to start taking control of our food systems, and our health. Someday the stores won’t have everything we need. Oh, wait! That day has already come. There are so many empty shelves in the grocery store, making a shopping list is all but useless. You just to take what you can get these days.

This pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine if something happened that really interrupted our food and fuel supply chain? Could you feed yourself? Can you preserve vegetables without a fridge or freezer? Can you cook your food without fossil fuels or electricity?

Now is the time to learn those skills. And to get yourself off to a running start, my advice is to build a vegetable garden. A big one. It’s really not that hard. I’ve described a few different ways you can do this here, here and here. Have a read, and see if you’re ready to take control of your food.

I hope this article gives you something to think about, and some inspiration to get going on building that garden. If you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share, I would love to hear them.

Health, Hope & Happiness


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10 Replies to “The world is changing; build a vegetable garden”

  1. Thanks Tracy,
    You are right, for many people there has never been a better time to build a garden (or work on your website also).

    I loved seeing the pictures of your vegetable garden – all laid out with nice rows and great mulch.  Well done, you clearly know what you are doing.  That is really great that you ferment your vegetables,  I’ve been hearing so much about fermented vegetable and how they help our gut bacteria – which is very important for our immune system.  It makes sense, especially living in BC in Canada where it must get too cold for parts of the year.

    Thanks Tracy, I’ve bookmarked your site for how to grow vegetables and also how to ferment them.  This is the best time to get started.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Joh. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, it really is time for people to learn how to grow their own food. It’s the only way to really ensure that you’re eating truly healthy food. And the fermented veggies are a BIG part of that for me. I love them so much, and they are so easy and so incredibly healthy.

      I love gardening; and I’ve kind of made it my mission to help as many people as possible learn to garden and grow their own food. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to help.



  2. Hi Tracy. 

    Your post is really interesting. I have never really been a gardener of any type & have always depended on my wife to grow our limited range of vegetables, however with the recent pandemic problems my wife has planted many more different types of veg in the last week.

    It seem in the past some of her veggie attempts have done well and some not so good, we have had success with climbing beans and potatoes but other types of veggies such as Squashes have never really taken, I guess that could be the soil where we are or could it be something else?

    We live in the southern part of the UK, a few miles outside of a big town but on the edge of the countryside, we like to buy organic local veggies from small “farm shops” which always seem to taste better than supermarket veggies.

    I LOVE the idea of the fermented vegetables, what a great way of supplementing your diet, I remember on a visit to Asia in the 2010 I fell in love with kimchi which often had lovely peppery chilli heat, I love it and your post has inspired me to investigate making some of my own fermented goodness.

    Kind Regards


    1. Hi Mike;

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. And happy to hear that your wife is planting more veggies this year! I think it’s going to be important for people to learn to garden; and now is the time to start.

      There are a few things that can contribute to poor vegetable growing, including soil, but mainly the nutrients in the soil could be lacking. So adding a nice thick layer of good compost could really help with that. And you could get a soil test done, or talk to a grower (perhaps at your ‘farm shops’) and find out what the soil in your area is usually lacking. They will know.

      The fermented veggies are SO wonderful. I put them on everything. So tasty, and so incredibly healthy. Did you see my recipe? It’s so easy to do, and you can mix and match the veggies depending on what you have available. I just dipped into my new batch, and it’s pretty tasty. But I’m going to let it ferment a little longer, to get that really tangy flavor.

      Best of luck with your gardening adventures! And if you or your wife have any questions at all about gardening, please don’t hesitate to ask.



  3. Hello, a big thanks to you for such an amazing article.

    Building a vegetable garden is one of the most amazing and smartest thing to put up right now, especially in this time that we are experiencing this global pandemic.

    My family have been operating on a vegetable garden for some years now, which was divided into different areas for different vegetables and fruits and  it’s really been amazing. Almost everything we consume is always fresh and it also save us enough cash. 

    1. Thanks, Sheddy! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. And I’m happy to hear that your family is growing their own vegetables and fruits. It really is the smartest thing to do right now.

      Best wishes for your safety and health.


  4. So timely and handy, this article comes in. Frankly my biggest dream right now is to build a world class organic farm and keep expanding. Coming across your idea is awesome, the covid19 situation in the world has exposed us to the realities we never imagined and obviously the safest investment you may have now may be land, crops and maybe buildings. I love the home garden plan and will start one immediately because i wanna live a life surrounded by nature far away from noise and polution. Sure the need to be completely independent of the society system can never be overemphasised, folks should begin to think out of the box and create alternatives to cooking methods, power supply and mobility. Thank you for sharing the links for the solar ovens, i am definitely gonna research them and provide all those off grid lifestyle options. Life is sweeter when we are completely free to live on our own terms. Cheers! 

    1. It is so nice to hear that people are tired of the current system. It really doesn’t serve the individual well at all. It’s always taking and never giving.

      Aren’t the solar ovens great?! I can’t wait to get one. I’ve tried a few different kinds in the past, and hope to be able to purchase one of my own soon. What a great way to cook a meal! In the meantime, we have our rocket stove, which is the next best thing, in my mind.

      I hope you achieve your dream of that big organic farm. It is my dream too. A massive garden, chickens and goats, and solar power. What else does a person really need? 

      Best of luck to you. And please feel free to ask any questions you have.



  5. We are truly living in strange times. In my area, we’re still able to buy fresh food supplies, although the accessibility is becoming scarce with more strict lockdowns taking place. During this period of being couped up at home, it’s a nice idea to go outside a bit without wandering too far. Creating a small vegetable garden is certainly a good idea, but I don’t have big land and my green thumb is pretty ‘rusty’. What kind of simple vegetation you would recommend a beginner like me to start?

    1. Hi Cathy

      Yes, strange days indeed. I’m glad you’re still able to get fresh food. Some places aren’t so lucky. We’re pretty good here. And once the garden kicks in, I’ll be sittin’ pretty. 🙂

      If you don’t have enough room for an in-ground garden, container gardens can still grow a lot of food. Or you can check out how to grow a herb spiral, a great garden design for small spaces (you don’t have to grow herbs in it, you can grow anything).

      The simplest things to grow are probably kale, and other greens like mustards greens, lettuce, and chard. Beets and turnips are also easy to grow, and you can eat the tops as well as the roots. Throw in a couple of tomato plants and you’ve got a pretty well-rounded veggie garden. Carrots can be finicky, but aren’t that hard to grow if you can keep them moist until they sprout.

      If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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