Sunday, May 15, 2011
Piece of Advice #95: Grow something
Square Foot Gardening. Hopefully, the mix Mel Bartholomew advises using will produce better results than the rocky, nutrient poor soil + fertilizer base we've worked with so far. I haven't given up on that. I spaded old leaves and wood ash into the existing garden and will add manure mulch as plants emerge, but we're going to use that space to grow stuff that will grow pretty much anywhere.
In any case, why should you grow something? Because people need to know where there food comes from, how it grows, and what it tastes like when it is fresh and not steeped in a chemical cocktail. We as a society need to realize how terribly dependent we are on a food system that cares nothing for us as individuals and is content to undercharge consumers for "convenient" no-nutrient food while stealthily overcharging citizens via subsidies for Big Ag and Big Oil and uncounted environmental damage to the land we will need in the future long after it's been totally degraded. Our meat comes from animals who live short, terrible lives in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and whose poisoned, overmedicated flesh is sold to us as Grade A. Most everything else contains additives, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, or soy.
Gardening is the first step to becoming less dependent on a system that cares nothing for health - human, animal, or environmental - and only for profit. It's also good for you. Growing things is practicing hope. It makes you move more in a variety of ways - digging, hauling, weeding, watering - and burns calories. People who garden connect with other gardeners for tips, and for encouragement. They share resources. They spend time together outside under the big free Vitamin D dispenser in the sky. They make critical community ties. The first time I sat down and had a meal with my neighbor - whom I've been living alongside for about 7 years now - was last weekend. I threw a chicken and some vegetables into a roasting pan at 4 PM and went out to dig out some sod with her. An hour and a half later I realized her husband was out for the night and she would be eating alone. I invited her over and we all ate dinner together. It was really nice, and I would not have done it had we not been working on our mutual project together.
Even if you only have time or space to plant in pots, try to grow some herbs because cooking with herbs is far, far superior to cooking without them. Plant some seeds, watch them come up, and realize what a miracle it is that life generates from such simple things - seeds, water, soil, sun.