Sunday, May 20, 2012

Life's Simple Pleasures: Gardening

 Gardening.  Growing your own food and then eating it.  One of the top 10 best things in life.   Why?

1.)  Gardening is something man was meant to do.  We owe all of modern civilization to gardening.  Without it, you'd be out in the woods, half naked, chasing your next meal.  

2.)  It connects you to where you live.  You only eat what your climate and soil can grow. You gain a new appreciation for your local climate, customs and cuisine. 

3.)  It connects you to your food.  Home grown food tastes so much better.  You'll never look at the grocery store the same way again.  All that stuff came from somewhere, and some of it really isn't food any more.

4.)   It's great practice for when I have to feed myself after society's collapse.  

5.)   Gardening replaced 64 square feet of stupid, unproductive, water-hungry grass in my lawn with raised garden beds.  

Below:  Stupid grass. 
Why don't you do something with your life!

While I haven't eaten anything from my garden yet, watching it grow is it's own reward.  

Occasionally I wonder if this is what it's like being a parent.  Ignore the seed planting metaphor (please).  The immense joy at seeing the little guy sprout out of the ground is undeniable.  Based on everything 10th grade health class taught me about childbirth, it's in fact WAY better than seeing the birth of a real baby.  Plus, I've experienced it hundreds of times already this spring.  Which you wouldn't get to do with real babies unless you were Genghis Khan.

It goes on.  Like a parent, I nourish the little sprout.  Water it.  Remove the bad influences around it the best I can.  Make sure it receives the best sunlight.  And now, once a little seed, a tomato I planted looks like this:  

I brought you into the world.  I can take you out of it.                                   

Very rewarding.  Probably how I'd feel if my kid brought home straight A's.  

I got my start gardening as a kid with my dad.  We had a giant dirt field where we'd plant row up on row of potatoes, peas, broccoli and more.  We ate all the produce we could handle and sold the rest at the local Saturday Market.  I hated the weeding.  But nothing was better than as a fourth grader making between $50-$100 on a Saturday morning.  That started my lifetime interest in personal finance.

Gardening does have it's dark sides.  Chemicals (no thanks).  Bugs.  Slugs.  Weird little grubs I find deep in the ground.  But the worst is something you'd least expect.


That's right.  Bambi.  Capable of destroying months of care and nourishment with one night of munching.  Indiscriminate.  Heartless.  And cute as buttons.  On top of everything else, gardening has taught me to hate deer.  Give it a shot.

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