Gardening with the Comptons
by Billie Ann Woo
This week we feature a family’s hobby garden that turned into a 5000sq ft mini-farm! Our Marketing Manager, Julie Compton, always has a basket of fresh veggies in the summer that is lovingly grown by her parents. Their gardening was not always large-scale; they started with a modest 100sq ft plot that kept expanding every year. Each year was a new opportunity to try out new plants and refine techniques to grow their favourite veggies. The staples on ‘Compton Farms’ include: potatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini, lettuces, kale, tomatoes, chard, peas and beans. Essentially – they grow what they like to eat and have physically and financially felt the benefits of backyard farming. The daily activity of maintaining the farm means that the Comptons are never idle and their nearly chemical-free growing ensures that they are fueling their bodies with top quality produce. While the farm is “in season” their grocery bills decrease substantially – why buy when you can pick only 20 ft away?
However, they caution that gardening is a time commitment and that not everything can be a success right away. They have had help with knowledgeable and generous neighbors lending their expertise and much-appreciated fertilizer. The Comptons still struggle with keeping pests away such as wire worms and fighting back weeds that seems to fill empty spaces almost overnight. But their successes keep them going and they appreciate that they’re able to create meals from garden to grill to tabletop, “literally cutting broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and tomatoes and roasting them over a charcoal fire.” Now that’s a hobby worth digging into!
The Comptons’ Tips For Growing Your Own Produce:
-Start small with planter boxes or large pots
-Good light is essential
-Start with the basics: broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes
-Invest the time and you’ll harvest the rewards.