I once tried to garden on my parents' two-acre property. I spent hours combing over gardening books, plotting out my garden beds, buying seeds, weeding and preparing the beds. It was a lot of work.
I was thrilled when my seeds started sprouting into little green hopes of future produce, and then it happened: the rabbits discovered my garden. And boy, do my parents have a lot of wild rabbits on their property! I think it took a short two days to demolish everything I had grown. I was so heartbroken that I didn’t attempt to plant anything else that year.
The next year I had great success with my tomatoes, but slugs destroyed my zucchini and cucumber plants despite the 15 slug traps I had put out, and the carefully sprinkled eggshells around each plant.
Let’s just say my gardening attempts in the past have met with a lot of disappointment and just a little success. But I am trying again.
We no longer rent from my parents, but we now live in the city with a shared backyard with our neighbors. My husband gamely built me two raised garden beds — despite not particularly enjoying that sort of thing. We went and got good soil for the beds, and the girls and I planted the beds together recently. We are starting to see green leaves reaching for the sun as they break through the ground. We will see if I have any more success this year or not. (Can you hear the cynicism in my voice?)
But why would someone with a talent for ruined gardens try again?
Here are three reasons.
I like fresh food
Last year was a hard and busy year, so I only did tomatoes in a container. And they grew well. I have never been really into fresh tomatoes and always preferred them cooked. But fresh from the garden tomatoes are the exception because they are exceptional! I love to eat a vine-ripened garden tomato. Plus, you can grow varieties that are hard to find in stores. Garden fresh produce is delicious.
Food costs are rising
So far, I haven’t had the greatest track record for saving money when gardening! But in the long run, I’d love to garden enough so that it helped with our food budget. Food is expensive, especially if you love organic produce. We just can’t afford to eat as much produce as I’d like to feed us, organic or not. I am hoping that eventually my gardening could help us eat better for less. I think because we are renters and know that we won’t be living in this house for very long, it can be tempting to not invest a lot into garden beds (though, when you make them yourself, they aren’t very expensive). But I want to start getting some skills under my belt as well, so we took the plunge.
It connects me to my food in a personal way
There is nothing quite like eating the food you have grown after tending the plants, watering them, and watching over them. The miracle of this process connects me to my food in a unique way that you just don’t get when buying food out of the supermarket down the street. I have really enjoyed watching my children’s joy over our garden so far too.
Now just to make sure that the slugs don’t get to it before we do.
Related on MNN: Hugelkultur: The raised bed with the funny name
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