The Self Reliant Gardener

Greetings, my name is Hesham. My wife and I  operate an online Heirloom seed and plant business called the Pink Mimosa Boutique. http://www.pinkmimosaboutique.com.  In 2006 my wife began collecting assorted Heirloom seeds for a  family seedbank. The impetus to do so was spurred on by our becoming aware of  GMO (genetically modified organisms) produce sold at local grocery stores in our then hometown of Columbia, SC. GMO’s, for those new to the subject,are plant or meat products that have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. These genetic alterations occur in a laboratory and are not found in nature.

The term GMO began circulating amongst our social circle a few years prior to my wife starting her seed collection. Casual conversations with peers oftentimes centered around  a future populace raised on a steady diet of genetically modified franken-foods. It surely didn’t sound like a good idea to eat, however we were not  in a financial place to afford organic produce on a regular basis. We went through a denial phase, hoping the looming threat would go away,  but nearly a decade has past and GMO’s aren’t going anywhere other than into more U.S. supermarket’s.

In 2009 my wife and I left Columbia and relocated to Pawley’s Island, SC. Rather than allow our own dietary needs to be completely compromised, my wife(a gifted/talented gardener in her own right),  spent the spring and summer of 2010 teaching me the ropes of gardening plants and vegetables. We live on the SC coast of Pawley’s Island, SC  so our warm climate was conducive to our initial experiments. Last summer 2012, we successfully grew a large crop of heirloom tomatoes, squash, assorted peppers, herbs for cooking as well as a wide variety of plant species.

Our garden was pretty massive by the end of the summer 2012 and the space we used to create it became a retreat from all the internal/external/chaos that was happening in my personal life. At summers end unfortunately, our landlord went into foreclosure on our rental space and our gorgeous respite was forced to be relocated.

I won’t lie, digging up that garden was a bummer after all the hours spent cultivating it. So many memories from the past three years were hard to let go of and I was upset we had to move. However, we found a small two bedroom apartment duplex nearby that allowed pets with a small backyard space and permission from the landlord to cultivate the small area alongside the apartment. It wasn’t the space we had last summer but it was enough to get the ball rolling come springtime. So in march we began preparing the soil and organizing our seeds with the understanding that we were planting with space efficiency in mind. We purchased three guinea hens from a farmer in Conway, SC on the cheap as well as a pair of Cochin hens to boot. We found a nesting box/henhouse for the guineas/cochins online being sold by an Amish supplier.
Presently we get about 5 to twelve guinea eggs a day. Guinea eggs are super delicious and have about a third of the cholesterol as regular chicken eggs. The french love guinea eggs so much they oftentimes use them in place of regular chicken eggs for their signature dishes.

The goal of this blog for myself is to express in part, that even in a small rental space one can grow a garden with the potential to feed two or maybe more people with a variety of fresh organic produce . For us our heirloom tomatoes, peppers, patty pat squash, and french purple highness potatoes in 2012 really took off in July through September. This year the garden is robust with herbs, tomatoes, a variety of beans and squash.We have tomatoes on the vine popping up and its only the beginning of June so I am optimistic we will harvest at least double what we did last season. We have not experimented with growing in the winter months however if things go well, we are going to re-approach the hydroponics game to test our luck after a not so successful try a couple years back.

In later posts I would like to share some of the challenges, as well as some solutions, mostly about the resident pest population that stymied many of our initial experiments. Most notably the infamous squash bore/leaf miner  insect  that laid waste to 95% of our squash plants. It was a humbling experience to say the least. I also would like to talk a bit on the political landscape that is driving this push for GMO food as well as the United Nations  Agenda 21 campaign that is the fountainhead  of today’s globalization movement.

  I sincerely hope that if anyone is on the fence about potentially starting a garden and are procrastinating due to the reality of residing in a rental space, or own a home with a small confined space, that this blog may be of assistance as well as a potential resource.   With access to dirt, sunlight, water, heirloom seeds, and an attitude resilient to setbacks, anyone can start to grow their own plants and veggies.  I personally would like to never rely on the  supermarket for my produce. I’d say by summer’s end we just may meet that goal. The hardest part of gardening is getting motivated to start the process, the best part is witnessing nature do its thing and then some.

If you would like to purchase or window shop our  assortments of heirloom seeds and plant cuttings for your own garden feel free to visit us online at http://www.pinkmimosaboutique.com. Thank you for your time and we will be back soon with further posts in the near future.  Here are some pics of the 2012 garden as well as the 2013 relocated space/garden.

Peace,

Hesham and Cara Mostafa

Here are some before/after shots of the present2013 garden, having broken ground  the last week of march.  The above ground beds were made from Muscadine grape vines gathered from the woods behind our duplex.

April 2, 2013. The initial sowing of the seed.  Oh my….quite bare i do declare(:

Hesham Mostafa Garden

Above ground beds with assorted culinary herbs. Champagne grapes are amongst the bed below as well as an avacado seedling.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

May 5th, 2013. Oh my, were really gettin started, no miracle grow in this yard only compost, fish fertilizer and FoxFarm organic nutrient

hesham cara garden 2013 week 6

close up of 2013 hesham cara garden

First signs of initial growth. Squash, narsticium, cucumbers , assorted herbs

week 6 hesham cara 2013

somewhere between 15 to 20 heirloom tomatoes and squash

week 6 hesham cara 2013

 

May 27th, 2013. At this rate of growth we will not be able to walk through the garden anymore!

5/27/2013 hesham cara garden5/27/2013 garden

Taken this afternoon 6/4/2013

More Heirloom tomatoes

06/04/2013 tomatoes

Squash an maters

6/4/2013 squash

Its gonna be one hell of a summer. Maters in June!

6/04/2013 heirloom tomatoes

06/04/2013

Here are the shots from last season and previous seasons as far back as 2010. As you can see we had triple the space we have now…heartbreaking to say the least.

Hesham an Cara's garden summer 2012

Cara in the greenhouse 2012

heirloom tomatoes from 2012 season Hesham and Cara mostafa

hesham and the heirloom tomato bushes summer 2012

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