I gave a class on gardening. It was a bit of an overview with the intent to motivate. One question I asked the students to think about was why they garden? I gave some possible answers and suggested that they determine the importance in order. Many I found out have never given it a thought.
- Superior flavor
- Save Money
What would you put?
I asked them to contemplate where they are in life. Are you growing older and still want to garden but energy levels and mobility limit you. A smaller garden and possibly one off the ground is in order. Superior flavor and a few meals is probably where you are at in life. Is your family growing, then you might be want a larger garden with the prospect of even a larger one. How large will be determined by whether you are just wanting a few meals or canning from what you harvest and how much canning you want to do.
Kirk and I have a bit of both. Our family is growing and yes, nutrition is near the top as well as flavor. They are close to the same in importance. And because of that, we are looking to garden 12 months a year at a greater level than ever before.
To save money is another huge benefit as our food costs have sky rocketed with the addition of four grandkids much of the week. The costs we experience are increasing as they grow and consume more. A single batch of waffles use to leave us with some to freeze but now it does not feed the six of us.
Most grow a garden because of superior flavor of home grown. Everyone I have talked to say that there is just nothing like homegrown tomatoes. Yet I fear too many have failed to wonder off the beaten path and discovered truly awesome tomatoes. The poorest example of a tomato is grown by those supplying stores. I’ve found that organic and Farmer’s Markets often fall in this category too. Farmer’s Markets and organic suppliers still have to put freshness length, uniformity, and turns ripe in a convenient window of time as the forefront of their business success. This has genetically changed the nutrition level, the flavor, the acidic level if it is tomatoes and most often not for the good.
We grew the very best cucumber ever last summer. Not a hint of bitterness and the most robust cucumber flavor I’ve ever encountered but…. it did not have any keeping quality. A coupled days and it was all wrinkled. No problem for us as we picked and ate as fast as they produced. I would do it again in a heartbeat it was so….. superior in flavor. Of course it was not a canning contender. I’ll grow others for that. Ones that are superior for the task.
So we will grow different strains for what makes them special. Our wants and needs are diverse. We can, freeze, dry, and are working on feeding our animals from what we grow. We will have our favorite strains for each purpose and for fresh eating it might just be another. We will develop cold hardy varieties that have acclimatized to our plot. Our lives are not simplistic and neither are our seeds. It is the reason we NEED heirloom varieties with their diverse gifts. Humankind survived because of this diversity and it will in the future become just as important as it ever was.
Have you thought about why you garden. Find out for it will answer and direct what you do. It will be something to fall back on when you need motivation on a hot day with sweat pouring down you back and your arms aching from the labor of it all.