I have wanted to be able to provide for my family by growing my own fruits and vegetables and getting some chickens and a milking cow would be nice, too. I don't know if I will ever go so far as to have a cow, but it is something I think would be nice to have. I like to can and preserve my own foods and there is something about looking in my pantry and seeing foods that I have made that sustain my family. I know there is so much more I could do, and I am looking forward to exploring my options and making it happen.
A greenhouse would be a dream come true for me, and I think of all the lovely garden-fresh foods my family could eat year-round. I may not be able to get one this year, but I do have a sun light that I rescued from the trash a few years ago. I am thinking up ideas on how I can put it to work on a little indoor potted garden and trying a few things. It would also be turned into a little science project for a home school lesson, teaching the kids the life cycle of plants and how they grow.
If more people would grow their own foods, made more meals from scratch and bought less processed foods, think how much healthier we all would be. First, we would be out in the fresh air, physically working on a garden which equals exercise; secondly, we would be eating organic fruits and vegetables that have no preservatives or chemicals that you cannot pronounce. That alone equals better health right there, because it has been shown that some of those preservatives and chemical agents and dyes can cause health problems. Thirdly, by growing your own foods and incorporating that into meals made from scratch, you know exactly what is going into your body and it tastes so much better than something that came from a box. Finally, you are helping the environment by driving less because you need less food because you are growing your own, so it all equals into using less gas and sustaining your family yourself instead of depending on a country halfway across the world for a head of lettuce.
It really isn't that hard to grow a garden. If you have never had one before or are hesitant to try, start small. Try a potted garden by using a few large pots and planting one tomato plant in one container and some herbs in another. Water every so often and you'll be able to reap the rewards in a couple of months. Try a small plot if you have the space, and make a little 5 by 5 foot square. You can work that size by hand easily with a hoe and plant a couple tomatoes, some lettuce, a zucchini plant, snow peas and maybe a compact cucumber plant. There are all kinds of possibilities and lots of missed opportunities to grow your own food.
Gardening is something that has been done for generations before us and sadly, it is becoming a lost art. There seems to be a surge in eating organic and buying and eating locally grown foods, but why not try growing your own foods, if you haven't already? Many of the blogs I frequent are gardeners and it feels like it is a growing trend, but when I step out of Blog world and into reality, I can see that it isn't happening here. There aren't enough people trying it for themselves and seeing how easy it is. Living in the mountains like I do, there are a lot of old-timers here that garden and preserve their own foods, and I see ads in the local papers offering up surplus potatoes and tomatoes at the end of the summer, but the younger generation isn't continuing that tradition. I would hate for people to become so dependent on grocery stores for food and microwaves for cooking that they have forgotten where food comes from. That they would think nothing of forcing a farmer off his land so they can build their 25 room house on an acre of land and then the poor farmer has lost his livelihood. That they would never eat a tomato right out of the garden, still warm from the sun and taste it's sweet, juicy goodness.
Mom, who grew up very poor, had a mother that grew her own fruits and vegetables and preserved the bounty from the garden, had chickens and pigs that she butchered herself and stored in the cellar. Worked on a farm in the summer to help two farmers with chores while they were busy with planting and harvesting and came away with food for them and some for her in return for her work. She always used to complain about canning and how much work went into it and told my Mom that if she could, she would buy from the store. Easier and cheaper, time-wise, she said. So my Mom never learned to can and preserve her own foods. She might have helped do the prep-work, but she didn't learn how to can. I remember having a garden only once in my childhood and the next summer, a pool was plopped on top of the old garden plot.
When my Mom sees me canning my own food, she can't understand why, because all she remembers is how much her own mother complained about it. I tell her that I enjoy canning because I want to do it, because it tastes so much better than store bought and because I don't have to do it. I could easily go to the store and buy a can of corn and a can of peaches, but in a taste test, they don't beat the corn I have frozen in the fridge or the jar of peaches in their own juice and not a heavy, sugared syrup. My grandmother had to do it to survive. Doesn't any chore become a burden when you are forced to do it? Gardening is enjoyable to me because I know the rewards at the end are so much sweeter than anything I could ever buy at the store, grown halfway across the world and picked before it was ripe.
What else do I have to say to convince you to grow a garden?