Now Is the Time To Live Sustainably With a Small Garden

Tropical Climates Are Ideal for Year-Round Gardening

Living on an island has its benefits and for me, the list of ‘pros’ just keeps growing. In the ’70s and up until the ’90s Hawaii stood as the agricultural powerhouse of the nation. The islands produced and exported sugar cane, coffee, milk, Macadamia nuts, pineapples and much more. Today, ironically, we spend $3 billion annually to import 90% of the food we consume.

The tropical climate makes our islands ideal for year-round gardening. As the cost of living continues to rise and the potential of food scarcity is regularly in the news. I have decided becoming more self-sufficient might be wise. Initially, I thought I would just plant some sweet potatoes and squash, but then unexpected events happened organically.

women kneeling down in the soil planting seeds

Backyard Chickens Can Help Fertilize Soil

Luckily, I have a large enough yard to plant some vegetables and become a chicken mother. Although I have to admit, the chickens were not initially a part of the plan. As it happens my neighbor down the street has an amazing hydroponic garden and around 20 chickens. I talk to him often when I am out walking my dog as I have been curiously contemplating my own potential as a small-time yard farmer.

Then, out of the blue, Danny let me know he was going to be out of town for three weeks and offered me all the eggs his chickens could lay if I would feed the birds twice a day. Upon his arrival home he gifted me with three young Buff Orpington hens as well as one beautiful Ameraucana who lays blue-green eggs. I rushed around to buy materials and with the help of my fiancé, we built a coup. Without much premeditation at all, I began collecting fresh eggs from my backyard. In the past few months I have started to see the fruits of all my digging and planting. I have been successful with arugula, Swiss chard, an apple banana tree, a couple different kinds of squash, yams, lima beans and I am finally getting around to planting sweet potatoes.

fresh eggs from backyard chickens

Customize Your Garden to Your Living Situation

Whether you live in a single-family home or condo, when it comes to gardening, where there is a will, there’s a way. That’s what Google is for– ideas on how to customize self-sustainability to your individual experience. Nothing is more satisfying than picking food from your garden and feeding your loved ones a warm meal. Each egg my chickens lay holds a significance I never predicted, it’s hard to put the feeling into words. There is a sacred appreciation for the origin of what sustains my being when I am directly involved in its cultivation.

History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Does Rhyme

It’s time for the People of Hawaii to start investing more deeply into the agricultural benefits of living on the islands. During World War II, the American government campaigned for its citizens to start at-home gardens to help offset the impending food shortages. Through this movement, 40% of our country’s food was produced in the small ‘victory gardens’ in people’s yards. I am enjoying every bit of the process of growing my own victory garden. I also see it as a responsible thing to invest my time in, not just for my own home, but also for my community.

What will be the first thing you plant in your garden?


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