Seeking Better Nutrition Through a Backyard Garden
Here at Extreme Fitness Results we’re dedicated to living as healthy a life style as possible. That involves eating well, exercising, and getting our sleep (surprisingly tricky). Given how hard it can be to find healthy, nutritious food, we decided to turn the backyard behind our office into a vegetable garden, and after some discussion, got to work digging and planting. It’s surprising how rewarding and satisfying it can be to dig your hands into the dirt and tear up roots and weeds, how good it can feel to just plop seeds into little holes you’ve shaped with your fingers. The brains behind the operation was Esteban Bressan, our CEO and a man with 8 years of experience as a professional agronomist out in California, where he worked with organic foods and oversaw industrial sized projects. So, after we’d washed the dirt from our hands and had a glass of water, I sat down with him to ask a couple of basic questions.
1) What were the important decisions you made in planning for the garden?
I did a quick survey of the resources I had available to work with
- Soil (texture and genera quality)
- Water availability
- Sunlight exposure
- Weather ( temperature, rainfall)
After evaluating at the resources I had, I came to the conclusion that I would be facing 2 major challenges:
A) Overall the soil quality is not that good. Low amounts of organic matter, extremely sandy, large amounts of coral stone, large amounts of debris and land fill material, the top soil is not very deep.
B) Sunlight exposure: because we are building a garden in the middle of the city, we don’t have a lot of room when it comes to where we are placing the plots. This is affecting the amount of direct sunlight exposure that the garden has.
But these limitations would not stop us!
2) Why did you pick certain vegetables over others?
Since we are not dealing with a very rich soil and have poor sunlight exposure, I decided to focus on fast growing (short planting to harvest period) vegetables, such as baby lettuce, baby spinach, baby salad mix etc. Another reason of why I chose fast growing varieties is because our garden is fairly limited in size, so I plan to plant/harvest the garden over and over in short periods of time.
I also decided to try tomatoes and peppers and a exotic south American squash, although while these vegetables require better growing conditions they are sufficiently hardy and resistant to stressful conditions to do well here.
We plan on fertilizing our garden on a weekly basis to overcome some of the limitations that our soil has.
3) What is some advice you might have for other people trying to put their own veggie plot together?
My advice is that pretty much anyone that wants to grow some of their own veggies or herbs can do it. No matter how big their yard is, or if they have a yard at all. There are tons of options for plants for different times of the year, and that can even be planted in pots! (tomatoes, herbs, peppers)
Just do some online research, or contact us via the blog, and I’ll be more than happy to give you some tips and ideas.
4) How much food do you think we will be able to get from the garden?
Baby Salad Mix: about 3 pounds
Peppers: about 12 lbs of bell peppers throughout the lifetime of our bell pepper plot.
Tomatoes: About 20 lbs of tomatoes throughout the lifetime of our tomato plot
5) Do you have any plans to expand it?
Yes, we are looking to double the size of our garden within a month. Currently our garden is 128 sq ft .