The alchemy of architecture & daily life
As part of our approach to building sustainable homes, we believe urban homes need a better relationship with the land and where our food comes from. In the cities and suburbs land sites are a lot smaller now than the typical 1/4 acre block with the vege plot out the back. After the house is built on the site, garden space can be limited to a small terrace and a tidy square of lawn. With everything neatly packaged up for us in supermarkets it becomes a valid question as to why we need to grow anything edible in our gardens.
Some of the benefits are that it helps to provide a connection with the land, promotes wellbeing, and an understanding that the more we care for our environment the more it nurtures us. The food often has more flavour, fewer chemicals, and is fresher with a far lower distance travelled to get to to your plate.
Urban gardening may not be limited to your own patch. There is a growing movement of community gardens and also Garden to Table initiatives which encourages a long term sustainable approach to food education. Kids learn how to grow their own food and also how to cook it. Auckland Council are also offering courses to encourage people to learn how to garden.
One of the easier ways to start an edible garden on your urban site is to plant a fruit tree.
On our tiny site we have lemons, limes, kaffir lime, plums, damsons, apples, quinces, mandarins, grapes and pears - all made a lot easier to fit on the land through dwarf trees and double grafting. Check out Edible Gardens or Waimea Nurseries for plants suitable for your site and for tips on growing them well!
(This is part one of our garden + architecture series - for part two see here)