Grow Something: mini-mission
Gardening is an art, and not everyone is good at it. I am one of those people.
While I’ve managed to keep a few potted plants alive, most of the things I plant in the ground do not do well.
Even though I understand my limitations, every year pre-spring, I start to think about what I can grow. Actually, I start to think about what we can grow. Then my husband starts to think about all the weeding he’ll be doing.
After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, I was enamored with the idea of living off the land. And then I remembered that I would probably starve if left to my own devices and backyard gardening adventures.
This mini-mission doesn’t require any gardening knowledge. You don’t need a green thumb or even a shovel. Just grow something that you can eat. Even if it’s just one thing. Planting a seed or a small plant and raising it for food will do more than feed your belly.
Grow something to feed…
- Your brain. You will have to do a little research before growing something. What grows best in your climate? Should you plant it in a container or in the ground? How will you take care of it?
- Your heart. Something magical happens when you plant, nurture and raise your own food. You feel genuine love and gratitude for your food. I know that sounds a little woo woo, but it really happens. When you focus on the essentials that your plant needs to grow: water, sunshine, and a little time and space, it’s natural to reflect on the essentials you need for happiness. Love and happiness does not require much to grow.
- Your soul. A sense of wonder feeds your soul and seeing a plant grow from seed or sprout to something you can eat is an amazing process. I remember many summer days last year, looking forward to checking on a tomato plant, counting the flowers and being in awe that something so simple could be so miraculous.
- Your friends. Sharing your labor of love with friends of family adds so much to a meal. It’s a connection with nature that is hard to explain, but easy to appreciate.
After you grow something, compare it to the grocery store version. If you grow tomatoes, buy a similar variety and notice the difference in how they look, feel, smell and taste. You will never buy produce the same way again.
If growing something is not for you, consider buying a farm share or visiting your local farmer’s market.
While you may already have a big garden, if you don’t, start small. Choose one vegetable that you like to eat and grow that. If you are feeling adventurous, give this mini-mission a theme and grow everything you need for a specific recipe. Grow tomatoes, hot peppers and cilantro for a salsa garden. Try tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil and oregano for a simple marinara. You could even try growing mint and limes for a refreshing mojito!
Yesterday, my husband and I planted 3 small tomato plants, cilantro, basil, and rosemary. We have a good sized garden space, and in the past have tried to grow squash, carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers, spicy peppers, lettuce and a few other things. Now we focus on growing less and enjoying more.
Be creative, have fun and revel in the miracle of growing something. What’s in your garden?
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