Friday, 2 March 2018

Why Grow Food?


It’s spring! I know this because every gardening book I have ever read declares that in the northern hemisphere, March is in spring. The view from my window doesn’t scream a surge in growth, nodding daffodils, gambolling lambs, and a surfeit of chocolate eggs (not least because you can never have too many chocolate eggs), but I keep reminding myself that last week, in the heady days of February, I was enjoying an al fresco lunch and failing to suppress the overwhelming urge to sow tomatoes.
Needless to say, the tomatoes have germinated and are leaning towards the office window, turning their backs on me and rebuking me for my lack of patience. They have a point. I knew that it would be better to wait a while before I sowed them, but I refuse to feel guilty, because those little seedlings make my heart sing.
This is why I grow food: my life is so much richer for it. The return on the cost of a packet of seeds is not simply the harvest I enjoy eating, it is also how growing that crop makes me feel. Gardening is known to be good for mental health. I am certainly sunnier when I grow food. Yes, the cabbage whites and rabbits might be thorns in my side, but even with their interference, I am a happier person for tending the crops they are hellbent on devouring.
The thrill of seeing seedlings looping their way into the world never diminishes. It is as magical now as it was when I sprinkled cress seeds on blotting paper as a child. I just wish that everyone could grow something to eat - even just a tiny pot of herbs on a windowsill. 
Every year I expand my veg patch, and this year is no exception. There are more strawberries and raspberries; an extension to the damson hedge; and a new compost area. The compost bins will cost nothing as they will be constructed from old crates. The fruit will hopefully earn its keep before very long. I won’t measure the return in kilos though; I will measure it in the pure joy that comes from picking the first berry, and the glorious realisation that there are sufficient damsons to make a crumble.
Apart from growing food in the kitchen garden, I also grow crops in little crates and pots by my office door. There are blueberries, strawberries, salad leaves, herbs and pea shoots. They take up very little room, but they make a difference to my day, providing healthy treats to snack on, or salad leaves for lunch.
The pots and the garden are hidden under a thick duvet of snow right now. The great news is that if we are in spring, then summer is on its way. I only hope that my tomato seedlings feel reassured by this news. 

16 comments:

  1. I'm hoping my herbs survive the snow blanket and then I'll be looking to the spring equinox to start sowing, mainly because I succumbed to houseplants which are hogging the available light during the day. Love the sound of having a damson hedge, Sarah. I'm hoping to install a gin maker's hedge next month. :D You will of course be welcome to visit, heheh. x

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  2. My tomato seeds germinated the day before the temperatures sunk into the double digit negatives. They are braving it out in the frost free greenhouse but it’s not exactly the Mediterranean spring they might have desired. I concur absolutely with the love of growing for its own sake. As it happens I can’t stand tomatoes. I grow them for Mike and get just as much pleasure out of it as he does.

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  3. Exactly how I feel about growing food. The amount joy cannot be measured with the amount of harvest really. Very interesting and well-written post.

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  4. Oh, Ifeel the same! I have sown a lot indoors last week. I made spring inside and sow some of my new seeds. This year I want to try some Quinoa. They make beautiful seed heads, I like to implement that in my flower garden. But first we have frost and snow, we have to be patient Sarah! Groetjes Hetty

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  5. It is so satisfying to look at a plate if food and to think “We grew that” isn’t it?

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  6. Growing food can be very rewarding, although it can also be very frustrating.

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  7. Today I’m gong to eat some of my home grown leeks, it’s weird, but I would never buy and eat leeks. I’d just go without.
    I read an article once, that stated if you grow food you are more locally to eat a wider range of edibles, because you grew it. My Blueberries are an exactly that. Would never pay those prices, yet I get pounds of them from my plants.

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  8. I love growing food but I am amazed that more people don’t grow food. Everybody eats so the two go hand in hand.
    Great article thank you for sharing.

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  9. Stay warm over there! There is something that is so satisfying about growing your own food. I just started my spinach seedlings a while ago, and in a couple weeks will start the tomatoes. Sadly spring doesn't start here until maybe April, but we've enjoyed several bouts of spring-like weather in between the snow and cold.

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  10. I may not be a food grower but I can certainly see why you would be excited by it.. In the meantime the worst weather in years has passed and I am raring to get started.

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  11. Hello, I used to be purely ornamentals but with our "Fruit Avenue", we're going to be having soft fruits from the garden at least. When I retire, that might expand out into a vegetable border ("patch" is too small) but for the moment, picking berries and fruits off bushes and trees feels better than just grabbing them from the supermarket, even if the home-grown isn't perfect and has holes and bits that need to be cut off before use. It's the sense of success and achievement, I think.

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  12. My sentiments exactly about growing vegetables and about the lack of spring. Mother Nature is really behind this year. Your coworkers must love that you grow crops by the office door. I know I would enjoy stealing a blueberry or two on my way into work. P. x

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  13. I hope that by now your veggies and fruit are enjoying some warmer weather! One of my great simple pleasures is stepping outside and picking ingredients for my salad straight from the garden. I have a number of lettuces and chard growing now, and blueberries are ripening, blackberries are just beginning to flower. I will plant out tomato transplants as soon as we quit having these cold dips in nighttime temps, hopefully within a week or so!

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  14. There is a joy from growing your own food and to reap the benefits. My husband enjoys using my home grown herbs every year for cooking and loves the freshness of getting something right out of the garden. Hopefully spring warmer temperatures will finally kick in so that you can plant outdoors.

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  16. Excellent piece of article. Growing own food brings joy to your mind as well as it keeps you healthy. What you are doing is pretty great. I will also try growing crops in my office door. Right now i am in love with 3x3 grow tent which is the best grow tent as it make possible to grow various plants in my indoor garden.

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