My Anticancer Garden

OK, I’m not a “slogan” guy but I read a slogan that I’m going to run by you now. “To Plant A Garden Is To Believe In Tomorrow”. Is that too fruity tooty for you guys?Β  Usually, it would be for me. πŸ™‚ but cancer makes you see some things differently than you did before. This year I planted what I call my anticancer garden. I realized this year that not only was this saying true but it was especially true about me.

To Plant A Garden Is To Believe In Tomorrow

So, before I was a software engineer I worked in construction, listened to rock and was a bit rough and tumble. Yes, I admit it. πŸ™‚ So, cute signs and slogans aren’t usually my thing but there’s a tenacity in that saying that I like. In my mind I’m picturing it tattooed on one of my construction friends right next to the grim reaper and the skulls. No?

OK, I’m getting carried away. Seriously though, it’s a lot tougher than it sounds. It’s like popping a strawberry onΒ  your middle digit and giving cancer the old “one fingered salute”. If only cancer were a person…hmmm…what I would do. So, since I can’t do those things I planted my anticancer garden. πŸ™‚Β  The ultimate act of rebellion for a cancer patient, eh? Create, grow, do good, feed others and yourself. I love rebelling. πŸ™‚

My Anticancer Garden

I am lucky to have moved into the neighborhood I moved in to. We have only been here less than a year and we are friends with almost everyone on the block and some of their friends from other neighborhoods too. Luckily for me, I found a new friend to build me some raised garden boxes. They are 20 feet long and 20 inches high and 4 feet wide. I built two. So, yes, we have a lot of garden. He added a bench seat all around the edges so that I could sit if I got tired. I’ve already used that feature quite a bit.

I also had another friend create a wire system for 4 trees that I will grow in the espalier style. Growing fruit in the espalier style is when you train the fruit trees to grow sideways rather than up. It’s a space saving way to grow fruit. The best part is that the fruit is never higher than 6 feet tall or as low as you would like it. This is all part of my attempt at making a potager garden which is basically a decorative kitchen garden inspired by the French.

What I’m Growing

I decided to grow things that were either hard to get organically or were expensive or were part of my cancer fight. I consider organic to be pesticide free and NOT GMO.This year I purchased all of my seeds from Baker Creek at RareSeeds.Com and I got my fruit trees from Stark Brothers.

I planted two apple trees. One gold rush and a pollinator for it that is a red apple. I purchased apple trees because they are part of the “dirty dozen”. If you haven’t heard about the dirty dozen it is a list of the fruits and veggies most contaminated with pesticides. Apples are on the list. You can see a list here.

I planted a cherry tree because we all love cherries and if you want to eat them without pesticides start wiping off every stinking cherry or enjoy your fruit flavored pesticides.

I planted a nectarine tree because I don’t like the skin on peaches and I think peaches are part of the dirty dozen too.

I planted corn. It’s almost impossible to buy corn without getting a “frankin-food”. Corn is almost completely GMO now. Even the seeds are GMO now. You have to purchase heirloom seeds that have been tested for GMOs. I planted Golden Bantam which is a variety that goes back to the turn of the century. Wish me luck, I heard corn was difficult.

I planted beans. I planted fava beans and pole beans to grow up the corn. I’m working on planting the 3 sisters which are corn, squash and pole beans. You plant them together. The beans grow up the corn, the squash provides a ground cover with vines and the corn benefits from the nitrogen the beans leave behind. At least that’s the plan. Getting organic beans is difficult and they are small so if you don’t get organic you are either wiping each bean or eating pesticides. That’s the biggest reason for growing them aside from the fact that they are pretty easy. πŸ™‚

I planted Onions. Need I say more. Onions, garlic and all of the plants from the allium family are constantly mentioned in clinical studies as cancer fighting foods. I wrote a short post on cancer fighting foods that you can read here.

I planted Peas and Turnips cuz I like ’em. No real reason except they taste good to me. πŸ™‚

I planted a ton of summer squash. Believe it or not, it’s hard to get zucchini or summer squash that isn’t GMO now. Gross. So, I planted a bunch. Enough that my wife rolled her eyes and threatened me with bodily harm. Can you say zucchini bread? πŸ™‚

My hospital stay interrupted my garden plans but I plan to finish up with tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, wax beans, bush beans and more. I will keep you updated with our garden’s progress.

Be A Rebel And Plant A Garden,
Ed – To find out how to use my images on your blog for free – Click Here




  1. An ambitious garden! Good for you! Love to hear you “Believing in Tomorrow”!! Our seedlings were finally planted in the garden this week. We’ve had so much rain, our garden was a big mud bowl. Couldn’t get in it. Good luck with yours! I see canning in your future! lol

  2. hi Ed I note you love cherries, so do I but I no longer eat them.
    Neuro endocrine effects your serotonin and melatonin levels and so do cherries. I was having trouble sleeping, especially when my lanrotide injection was due. I ate cherries daily and dried ones if fresh ones were not available. I was looking for an answer to sleeping problems when I discovered some research saying that cherries helped people to sleep. I ate them a couple of hours before bed and had bitter cherry juice, recommended on many web sites. I got much worse more flushing more diarrhoea and less sleep. I was within reasonable levels of intake a handful and small glass of juice. I thought it was my condition worsening. The cherry intake alone would not have produced the diarrhoea. A doctor told me not to have cherries at all for a couple of weeks as they did effect some hormones to see if it helped. I have never eaten them since. No other fruit or vege has had this effect. They made my neuro endocrine worse. Everyone is different and you may be fine. As you are so interested in your diet in relation to your condition I thought you would want to test your self when your cherries are out by looking for a difference in your condition. Hope you are not like me but well worth knowing if you are. I have enjoyed reading all the information on your blog. good luck with your garden, I would love rased beds.

    • That is CRAZY! I don’t eat too many cherries because I am too impatient to pit them. Isn’t that sad! πŸ™‚ My wife loves them though. I will absolutely watch out for this though. I’ll take a picture of my raised beds and garden so that you can copy them if you want to. I’m going to do a garden update. Next year, I’m going to plant more things that are “cancer fighters”.

      I use the bench a lot. I used to do construction and I was the “animal” on the job. My friends used to joke around if there was something to tear down they would say “sick ’em, ed….sick ’em”. πŸ™‚ I would have it torn to the ground so fast everyone would laugh. Now, I can’t plant a packet of seeds. Grrrrr… makes me so frustrated….but I choose to stay positive. I believe it makes a difference.

      I like the challenge theme of your blog. I’m tempted to suggest some but I’m a little twisted so I will refrain….for now. πŸ™‚

      Keep in touch!

  3. Hi Ed, RHS has a vast range of heritage seeds and were on tv here England saying they send them all over the world; as they have a world wide collection. They have a large website look for Royal Horticultural Society heritage vegetable seeds. Seeds are light so postage would not be prohibitive. You would know they are a reliable source. There was something about membership but you don’t need to be member to buy, I have in the past. Christine

    • That is pretty cool. I love British gardens and the garden shows you guys have. I want to get one of those giant old English Yews that grow 60-70 ft. I love those!!!! I have an acre of property and it would be so unusual in this area. πŸ™‚

      • Hi Ed. They have tree seeds as well. Some grow very fast indeed. I have a wild British Cherry 15 years old my arms just go round it is up to top of the roof and covered in birds all summer. Loads of bitter cherries I cannot eat but the wild life love them. They do a catalogue as well as the web site and hold the world heritage collection of seeds. Every seed they can find from all over the world. You could do loads with an acre.

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