“If you never have you should,
These things are fun and fun is good.”
— Dr. Seuss
I have long way to go before I’d call myself a gardener. This past summer I shared a small plot at our work’s community garden with my colleague, Nancy. Nancy was kind enough to share both her land and expertise and helped me get my carrots, beans and cucumbers underway. This was my first attempt at vegetable gardening and it didn’t go great.
Yes, the carrots were tiny, I managed to salvage only one tennis-ball shaped cucumber before the plants all died, and the yellow beans–while plentiful–were rock hard and virtually inedible.
That said, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy the experience on a number of levels. Here’s what I discovered about gardening.
- It’s therapeutic. Working in an office all day can be very draining. Having the opportunity to get outside, if only for 10 minutes at a time, and get my hands dirty was a wonderful diversion. A great way to clear my head and de-stress for a bit.
- It’s satisfying. Despite the dismal harvest, growing my own food was immensely satisfying. Eating something that I’ve grown myself was very rewarding and gave me a great sense of accomplishment.
- It’s tasty. Food grown close to home just tastes better. And it doesn’t get much closer than your own vegetable garden. Your typical food you get from grocery stores usually travels huge distances, losing much of the flavour and nutrients. My carrots and the potatoes and tomatoes Nancy was kind enough to share with me were the tastiest I’ve had all summer. The exception to this rule was my yellow beans. They tasted like crap.
- It reconnects you with your food. Caring for the plants from seed to harvest makes you appreciate food a lot more. Having your own garden also connects you with how your veggies are grown. When you buy a carrot at the grocery store you know you’re buying a carrot but don’t know how much pesticides have been used, the types of fertilizers and whether you’re eating a genetically modified super carrot imbued with pig genes. You also get to know the working conditions of the labourers when you’re growing your own stuff. And as cruel a task-master as Nancy was, I can’t say I was mistreated too, too badly.
- It’s a great hobby. Gardening is awesome because it’s something you can constantly improve upon and learn more about. Every growing season is an opportunity to explore new fruits and vegetables and hone your hoeing and weeding skills. And given the poor showing of this year’s harvest, things can only get better from here.
Have a vegetable garden? Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is the author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.