Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grow Food

Day 57
The Daily DuBrule

As I drove to work this morning, I just kept thinking about what a great time I had last night talking about growing food with a very excited group of gardeners at Elizabeth Park. A mantra ran through my head. I wouldn't leave me all day, and BOY what a jam packed, busy, intense day I had. I kept thinking about the final question I got from someone who said that my gardens that I talked about and showed on the screen were amazing, but they were overwhelming. Where should she start?

Grow food. Grow your OWN food. It doesn't matter what it is or how little you actually end up harvesting. Just start by growing SOMETHING that you will then eat. In a pot. In a hanging basket. In a tiny bed outside of your condominium. In a small patch that you dig up in your yard. Steal a corner from your flower garden or shrub border. Start with something easy. Parsley. Lettuce. Swiss chard because the red and yellow rainbow varieties are so pretty and can be added to the center of a pot of annuals. Try one tomato plant or one pepper plant in a great big pot on the deck. Plant a blueberry bush. Grow some peppermint for tea. I remember my first peppermint plant, it grew like a weed and I thought "man, plants are fun and easy". Little did I know that it would later take over my world. But it gave me confidence and it was peppermint, one of my favorite herbs for tea, and I never had to buy it again!

I also told everyone to try one new thing that they've never tried before. A few years ago I started growing 'Ruby Streaks' mustard because I saw Rosalind Creasy (author of Edible Landscaping and Edible Flowers) give a talk and she said to just pick the mustard leaves and put them in sandwiches whenever you would spread mustard from a jar. I like zippy greens and, wouldn't you know it, she was right on! Last year I tried a new summer spinach and it worked. I picked spinach for months and added it to so many dishes. This year I am determined to grow parsnips. I just love these sweet root vegetables in the winter. I hear the seeds are hard to sprout. I'm going to give it a try anyway. All I have to lose is a tiny bit of time and the price of a packet of seeds.

So, the mantra is:
Grow food. Any kind of food. Grow it in the ground. Grow it in a pot. Grow it from seed. Buy already started seedlings. Just give it a try. Even if you live in a condominium or an apartment or a tiny cottage by the sea with no sun and rocky, acidic soil (like I did for over 10 years) grow it anyway.  Find something that interests you and plant it. It is our birthright. It is our legacy. Once you start, you will never go back. 

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