Self sufficient in kale … I think … provided canning goes better than raspberry jam

City gardening means small crops. My theory for this summer is: grow what we can preserve, not eat in one meal. It’s not worth the gardening work for an hour of enjoyment.

My most achievable quest, I believe, is kale. It’s hardy, can withstand my blunders, and continues to grow throughout the west coast’s mild winters. I started kale plants from seeds and have a ridiculous amount of seedlings. Half our garden is kale, and I still have about 30 seedlings waiting for a place to grow. My husband may build me more raised beds in the front yard next week (thank you, Sean, for humouring my little project I have going on).

I would like to pretend that my kale crop is for the healthy smoothies and the kale chips my children eat to replace chips and slurpees from 7-11; however, pathetically, my kids have a healthy diet of chips and pop. My use of kale is for the unromantic, unhipster meal of mashed potatoes and kale called boerenkool (a Dutch/Northern Europe traditional meal). It’s easy and the kids love it, so we eat it at least once a month.

The Recycling Council of British Columbia says that Canadians recycle more than two billion aluminum cans per year. If we eat boerenkool 12 times a year, we contribute 0.000000006 of the aluminum that needs to be at the very best processed and recycled, at the worst put in the landfill. That’s a laughable statistic! Impulse says to forget it. It’s not worth the effort, but I think it’s now environmentally too late to continue that posture. My efforts are about lifestyle, more so than scientific value. I’m trying to break the image my city kids and I have that food grows out of the grocery store shelves as well as the “out of sight, out of mind” habit we have regarding waste.



The Recycling Council of British Columbia‘s other statistic motivates me to successfully process even one jar of kale: it takes 6 weeks to make an aluminum can, but it takes 300 years for it to disintegrate in the landfill. I know, I need glass jars etc to can, but again, it’s more about being aware of my wasteful habits of convenince.

City people! If you find a place for 5-6 plants, you could potentially eliminate the need for canned kale, and be able to break off leaves pretty much all year to use in your salads and smoothies.




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