Column: Half-Acre Happenings Crystal Larder

Does the thought of turning up moist earth, sowing seeds and pulling weeds make your heart beat with excitement or your stomach sink?

Does the thought of turning up moist earth, sowing seeds and pulling weeds make your heart beat with excitement or your stomach sink with dread? Personally, I’ve found the answer to that question depends on where I’m at in life. As a small child, we would visit my Great Granny’s enormous vegetable and flower garden during summer vacation. It was a special treat to be escorted through her meticulously tended rows and feast on fresh picked peas on the porch step. To this day the taste of fresh peas brings back memories of her and the pride and passion she had for her vegetables and flowers. It was a happy time.

Years later I tried several times with varying degrees of success to grow a decent garden and actually enjoy the process, but my heart just wasn’t in it. As a working mother of three small girls I was far too busy to be bothered with all that hard work. After my mother-in-law and resident gardener Marj moved away, our garden plot at the back of the house lay dormant under plastic for about five years. Any thought of starting it up again filled me with dread.

In 2009 our family circumstances changed and the decision was made for my husband to work away from home. How would I fill the long summer without him? My salvation came in the form of a freshly tilled 20×40 foot plot of earth. I dug a maze of raised beds and used ladders and other household items to create functional works of art for cucumbers and nasturtiums to climb. I watched with glee as my children wound their way through the maze picking peas, beans & carrots. If I had to choose just one word to describe that garden it would be “healing”. Witnessing the fruits (and vegetables) of my labour in the garden that summer was the positive and restorative experience my soul craved. Message received Universe, I had found my passion for gardening at long last.

Fast forward to present day where we are currently in our third season as half acre homesteaders. We have 20 strains of garlic in the garden out back and several perennial herb and flower beds.  Our mission is to produce as much food, flowers, and revenue on our half acre as possible, sharing our journey with as many people as we can along the way. I think my Great Granny would be proud. If the thought of putting in a garden of your own does little to inspire you, you can still take part in the local food movement by visiting your neighbourhood farmers market.


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