-First published on Discover Parkland–
When Anthony Geyman graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and moved into a house in the Parkland area three years ago, he had no idea what a small hobby might evolve into.
“I moved in here and just decided we were going to do a garden,” he says. “I knew nothing about it really. I just winged it… and [with gardening] it’s a really sharp learning curve.”
Although he now works for a technology company, Geyman has found gardening to be an outlet. “I work in a tech field where I’m inside a lot. So gardening provides a nice contrast to how I normally live,” he says.
So what kinds of things can you grow in Parkland? Surprisingly, quite a few.
“Kale kind of becomes your best friend,” Geyman chuckles. But beyond just the leafy greens that are his favorites, there is a wide variety of other crops in the raised beds that cover his front lawn.
“I didn’t really see the purpose of flowers at first… I was like, why would I grow them if I can’t eat them? But they actually serve a practical purpose,” he chuckles.
The art of creating a sustainable urban garden relies on a creative use of space. It’s also about picking plants that grow best in the northwest climate.
“It’s an exercise in both practicality and beauty,” he says.
Some plants are often difficult to grow in an area like Parkland that doesn’t get a whole lot of sun, but Geyman has gotten creative.
In his front lawn, he has built a tall wooden structure that sits over a patch of hay. There are tires littering the lawn with plants growing in them. He has rigged up a watering system that drips into his upside down tomatoes that grow in five gallon black buckets.
To the untrained eye this might look like complete chaos. However, Geyman has been reading up for years and experimenting with new and innovative ways to improve his methods.
“There’s lots of failure but that’s half the fun,” he smiles.
The tires serve as a way to create a place that’s most conducive to plant growth. The black tires help regulate temperature in the summer and winter. Geyman also explains how whenever you raise soil above ground level, like in raised beds or tires, it helps to maintain
the soil climate.
Beyond growing food for consumption, it provides a way for Geyman to add variety to his daily life. “It is both stressful and stress-relieving,” he says. It has even has begun to further connect him to the Parkland community.
Geyman says he often produces so much food that he ends up giving a lot of it away.
“I’ve met more of my neighbors than I ever would have,” he says. The extra food that Geyman and his roommates can’t find a use for always finds a home. “Nothing has ever gone to waste,” he says.
Creating a sustainable future for food consumption something that Geyman is also passionate about.
“I really think this generation knows how important food is, but a lot of times the only resolve people have is to watch 50 documentaries on it,” he says. “You could do much more good for food politics by having just one raised bed.”
Geyman does what he can to make his practices as sustainable as possible. Using coffee grounds from NPCC to put in his compost pile is just one example of how he tries to be conscious of his impact on the earth.
Geyman’s garden has made significant strides since he moved in just a few years back. However it is now time for him to start a new chapter of his life. He will be leaving his rental house and garden sanctuary in favor of a place he can call his own.
Geyman is thrilled at the prospect of living somewhere where he has even more control over the space. A new home will not be the end of his urban gardening project, but will be a new start to improve upon the last model.
To Geyman, when you start a garden, “You begin to feel like you have proprietorship over the land. You invest yourself in the well-being of where you are.”
Gardening has become something so entrenched in Geyman’s life he anticipates it is a hobby he will take with him no matter where he goes next.