Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why does my garden grow

There were lots of things that prompted me to consider a garden. I just read Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense of Food, (which I highly recommend, btw) and one of his tips is to grow a garden - the ultimate in local, seasonal, organic eating.

The increasing food prices have made me think about it too - it's not hurting our budget too much yet, as we don't eat a lot of the foods showing the biggest increases - little meat, we've cut back on dairy already - but it is enough that if we grow our own produce, or what we can, then we don't have to be as bothered by the increases in other things.

I've also thought this would be good for the boys. Our kids (and adults) are often so separated form nature, and our food supply, that they don't get it at all. We don't know where our food is coming from, what it looks like growing, what it tastes like fresh.

And so I decided what the heck, let's give it a shot.

Only I've never been successful as growing any non-human living things before (I've had a few pets, but I've not been the best pet owner and they've mostly been other people's responsibilities, and I've become allergic to cats and dogs), and I've never really witnessed gardening in action, and I'm basically clueless as to what I'm doing. My dad grew a garden a few years when I was little, but I didn't pay much attention to what he actually DID, just helped pick, prepare and eat things when they were ready. Last year we tried a couple strawberry plants, but the birds always got to the berries before we did, and I gave up on it pretty fast.

I've gotten some books from the library, found some good websites, and gotten reassurance from the guy working at Lowe's that it's just not that hard, and we can really grow just about anything here. I got a few tomato plants yesterday, put the cherry tomatoes in barrels and put the tomatoes in the ground. Guthrie and I planted some flowers, and put some cilantro and basil in some other little containers. Containers are not nearly as intimidating as digging up the lawn and putting things in.

I find the whole thing frightening and intimidating, but a little exciting, and I feel good already having started.

Just now, we went out in the back and I started digging, trying to get the grass pulled up out of the ground. (Turner does not seem to be scared of the shovel today.) I can tell the garden is going to be good for me in more ways than one - healthy fresh veggies for fuel, and the workout that is digging, shoveling, hoeing, and planting. I'm hoping the boys will be more eager to eat more veggies if they have helped grow them too.

It's an adventure for me, and we'll see how it goes. If the only thing we get out of it is some tomatoes and playing in the dirt, it will be time well spent.


Andrew said...

Growing your produce is fun. My wife and I just recently started our vegetable garden. We've lived in the Valley for a little more than three years. We had a garden where we used to be. What I would suggest doing is growing as many easy crops as possible, such as beets, radishes, collards and peppers. Things like tomatoes and potatoes are harder, and you should expect a higher failure rate. Cabbages and broccoli are somewhere in between. You just need to remember to growing them during the right season. Wintertime is good for many leafy types of vegetables. Having a garden protects us against higher gasoline prices. You have to figure that one day our current system of transportation is going to collapse. I'm not sure if it will be in our life times, but the way it is going, it may very well happen that way. When it does happen and we don't have an adequate replacement, we will have to go back to more local agriculture. Places like Phoenix will be deserted. If there isn't a system to replace the internal combustion engine, then we may face mass famine here in the United States. It's hard to believe, but it is far more possible than we admit. So having a vegetable garden today is like the people during World War II having their victory gardens. Knowing exactly what happened during to your food during its production is so reassuring and far more nutritious than what we can get in the grocery store. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Judy said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm not expecting too much production this year - just wanting to commit myself to the idea and give it a shot to see what happens. I have to learn by trying, and seeing what I screw up. :P