Hello! I’m Cathy, also known as Mother of a Hubbard… welcome to my home and garden!
If you’re here because you want to learn how to grow a lot of your own food, all year round, in a little bit of space, then you’re in the right place. I grow the majority of food that is served at our family table, an endeavor that many people assume is impossible for the average American family. But we ARE the average American family — my husband and I both work full-time jobs (I’m a medical school professor), and we are raising two young children in the midst of a growing city.
When it comes to the size of our backyard, though, we’re not your average family. We’re well below average, actually – half the size of the average 0.5 acre American lot. The size of our garden is equivalent to the average size of a U.S. house (2400 sq ft). But considering that we grow the vast majority of vegetables that we consume in a year, I think you would agree that our family is far from “average.”
You might have similar dreams of a backyard vegetable garden – a garden from which you can feed your family healthy fruits and vegetables year-round. Many people cannot do anything more than dream about a garden, because they fall into the trap of thinking that it takes a lot of land to feed your family. It doesn’t. You just need to think SMALLER… think in decimals.
A decimal is a unit of land area that is 1/100th the size of an acre. A decimal is an infrequently used term here in the U.S., where we have historically thought BIG about our land usage. In Bangladesh, the 8th most-populated country in the world, the most common unit of measure used for farms is the decimal.
Could you commit a decimal of your backyard to a garden? Just 436 square feet? We’ve commited 6 decimals of our backyard… just 6/100th of an acre. We produce at least a TON of vegetables on it (which you can read more about here).
You would be amazed by just how much you can grow on a decimal!
Perhaps you want to grow sweet corn for your family. From just one decimal, we grew enough sweet corn in 2012 for fresh eating in the summer, and we packed an additional 43 lbs of it in the freezer for winter feasts. But that’s not all that you could grow on that decimal during a year. Spring broccoli preceded our corn crop, and sugar snap peas followed it. Those were followed by cold-tolerant crops growing in the beds… several varieties of kale and Asian greens like pak choy were harvested all winter long.
All on just one decimal.
All from an area that is just 11 x 40 ft.
So “dream small” this year. Dream in decimals.
It is a worthwhile dream:
- An opportunity to ensure that you can provide healthy fruits and vegetables for your family.
- A chance to live more sustainably.
- A guarantee that the foods you harvest will be safe from allergens to which your family is sensitive (my family is gluten-intolerant, which you can read more about here).
- A way to share time and learn with your family.
- A means to connect with the local and global community… gardening is a universal language.
Ready to get started? Let me direct you to some of the more popular posts on my site:
Grow year-round without an expensive greenhouse, artificial lights, or heated structure — simply construct a low tunnel in your garden or over your raised bed. Click here to learn how.
Learn the basics of how to grow in winter, from planting schedules, to recommended seed and garden tool suppliers, to video presentation on winter growing. You can find all of these FREE resources here.
I grow over 50 varieties of vegetables each SEASON, and also have several varieties of fruits in our landscaping. Browse the blog, or visit this page for a short list of recommended seeds for new gardeners.
Visit this page for my favorite resources about gardening intensively in small spaces, growing in winter, and seed suppliers.