I like fresh fruits and vegetables. The colors, smells and tastes add so much to a meal that you simply can’t get any other way. Then, of course, there’s the nutritional value. We all need the nutrients that veggies contain along with things like the antioxidant and fiber benefits of some veggies. Good taste and health benefits all rolled into a single package. What’s not to like. There are only two ways of which I’m aware to get fresh fruits and vegetables, buying them from a store or growing them yourself. I much prefer to grow them myself.
When I was a kid, my mom had a garden whenever she could (with all of our moving, it wasn’t always possible). I remember how much she and my dad seemed to delight in making and maintaining the garden and how much more they enjoyed harvesting, preparing and eating what came out of it. Now, you have to understand that as much as my parents loved fresh veggies, I was most emphatically not a convert. I disliked them immensely. Then, one day, I discovered raw vegetables and I was hooked. After that, my parents would eat theirs cooked and I had mine raw. It was several years before I discovered the reason for my preference. It was both simple and sad. I loved my mom. Cooking was simply not her forte’. The one thing you could be sure of when my mom cooked something, anything really, was that it was done. It was well done and had been well done for a while before it was served. Then, one day, I discovered vegetables that were cooked but not overcooked. Vegetables that were properly seasoned. Wow! What a difference!
Several years ago, I began planting my own vegetable gardens. Then, for a few years, I stopped. Life was really busy and something had to give. Gardening was one of the things I let go. Two years ago, I started again. The veggies are nice. Like I said, I like eating them. More than that, though, I like the experience of planning a garden. Prepping and amending the soil. Planting. Weeding (okay, not so much with the weeding). Watering. And, of course, harvesting and eating. Add to that the fulfillment I get from canning the excess. It’s a special kind of gratifying to eat something, knowing it’s not only tasty, but healthy and that you grew it yourself. And, if done properly, it’s much less expensive than buying your vegetables from the store. I guess you could say I find gardening rewarding (reasonably priced food), relaxing (you can’t really hurry the natural life cycle of a tomato) and very fulfilling (I grew this).
When I was a kid, everyone I knew planted their gardens the same way – in long rows spaced about 18″-24″ apart. Last year, for the very first time ever, I put in raised beds with my own version of square foot gardening. I don’t know that I will ever grow a garden any other way, ever again. This weekend, hopefully, I’ll start my seeds in some wooden boxes I’ve re-purposed. Originally, they were concrete forms used by a neighbor, but this year they’ll be dedicated to a nobler purpose (I had planned to post pics of the boxes but can’t upload them right now. I’ll try later.)
If you like fresh vegetables, if you’re looking for a rewarding way to relax, why not plant a garden?
* Originally, I had planned on using the word “w00t” but I’ve been asked to stop embracing my inner nerd.