11 June 2012

One dozen totally fantastic reasons to start a garden

If you read my blog, you know that I am farming on a concrete slab with a tiny nutrient free strip of dirt at the far end. So if I can do it, anyone can. All it takes is a little cash, a little persistence and a little knowledge. Under all of that, you have to want the dirt to get up under your fingernails; to smell the scent of cow manure; to come face to face with creepy crawlies. And like it.

Here are my top 12 totally awesome reasons why you might want to do any of those things.

12. You’ll become very popular. If you grow things like zucchini or grape tomatoes, you’ll have an abundance of them. At first you’ll try to eat them in every recipe you can think of. Then you’ll freeze and preserve some. Then you’ll get desperate and starting giving them away. But beware not to give them to the same people too often. You'll just be known as “that annoying zucchini girl.” People will run away when they see you.

11. You can grow things you haven't been able to find in your area. I adore yellow raspberries but I can’t find them locally. If I grow them myself, I don’t have to look further than my backyard. If you can’t find kombucha squash or rhubarb or figs or whatever where you live, grow them yourself.

10. It's easy. Just stick some seeds in the dirt and water it periodically. Check for pests once in a while. Harvest and eat.

9. Putting your hands and feet on the earth helps you to draw energy. You'll feel recharged. Especially if you live in the city and walk on nothing but concrete. Gray concrete is boring and makes us boring. Gardens and other green spaces are interesting and alive.

8. It’s educational for your kids. If you have kids, you can teach them about how things grow, what insects do for a living and how you can benefit the earth just by growing your own food.

7. Growing your own food is more satisfying than anything you'll ever do. You won't have to wonder about pesticides or GMO's or salmonella poisoning. You’ll save on shipping fuel. Your carbon footprint will become a lot less like a sasquatch and more like a mouse.

6. It will get you outside and away from the computer. You know that Farmville farm you’ve been nurturing on Facebook? Why not go outside and plant a real one. I promise it will be just as addictive and time consuming.

5. It’s good for the environment. The more earth we reclaim for small farms, the less that will be used for factory farms and industrial crops. The more locally you eat, the less fuel is burned getting your food to the market. What’s more local than your backyard?

4. Plants are beautiful. It is very soothing to sit in your garden and look at the things you’re growing while you listen to the insects and birds. You’ll de-stress in minutes. Bonus energy points when you see butterflies and ladybugs.

3. You'll save money in the long run. At first, you’ll have to spend some money, it’s true. But once your containers and soil are purchased, you don’t really have many expenses. And once the crops start coming in and you start preserving, canning and freezing, you’ll realize how much the extra produce is going to save you over winter.

2. Flowers are a must in life. Male or female, everyone is cheered by flowers. Grow them yourself and always have a smile on your face.

1. It's fun. Do you remember how much fun you used to have as a child when you made mud pies and dug holes and planted things? It’s still fun. You’ve just forgotten.

It’s always worthwhile having a garden. Even if it’s really tiny. Now go outside and put your hands in some dirt.

Fianna MacGregor | Blog | Blog | Twitter | Email
New York City Fianna has been vegan for 36 years. She is currently working on a second M.A. in Human Rights from NYU. When she isn’t veganizing every cookbook she can get her hands on, she’s working her urban farm in New York City. She also writes extensively on veganism, running and green living. Her newest project is to trace everything she buys to find out if it’s cruelty-free (both animal and human) and eco-friendly. Fianna and her fiancĂ© are animal rescuers of dogs, cats and birds.

Photo credit: Fianna