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Mar 2, 2011 05:55 AM

Do you REEEEALLLLY enjoy gardening?? - OR - My eternal gratitude goes out to America's farmers!

Reading these posts (particularly the "tomato fruit eating critter) really makes me question my sanity as I "itch" to put out vegetable seedlings at this time each year. And yet I do and wait with baited breath for that first tomato or squash or green bean, then do my annual swearing when that almost-ready tomato is violated by < take your pick > lying in wait, finally ending the season with the same question of sanity. Yet the cycle continues with hopeful anticipation each year!!!

Gardening is a challenging task, no argument about it. And even though I'm not that fond of tomatoes (except on BLT's!!), I continue to buy several plants each year. And even though the pests, critters and TX heat claim more fruit than I, I guess I do enjoy the pampering, the daily visit to check their well-being (or lack thereof) and even the occasional "eureka!" when I get to win. And you really can't beat the flavor of any freshly picked vegetable.

This year, I'm gardening with a more purposeful intent, though on a very small scale -- offsetting escalating store prices.

Why do you garden???

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  1. Why I garden:

    -releives the day's tensions and lets my mind get away to enjoy the nature, breezes, and sunshine.
    -the pride and fascination of nurturing a seed to nurture yourself and family.
    -knowing the food you're putting on your table was grown 'a stone's throw' away, and knowing what's in it, how it was handled, and cared for.
    -the constant rise in food costs.
    -canning and preservation.

    1. I've owned homes in IN/CA/KY/GA and left my spade marks in the soil at each place. My gardens were small, but I grew things that weren't readily available elsewhere, like heirloom tomatoes, unusual varieties of potato, sugar snap peas, broccoli rabe, wax beans, "old-time" runner beans, you get the idea. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see things through to harvest. I generally used organic controls and amendments and did have occasional problems with voles, rabbits, hornworms and the like; but, I got more than they did.

      I'll be 67 this year and the soil in south GA is hard sand and rock. I am gardening in containers and have put out the first tomato plant on the patio.

      1. It's the always-miracle of a tiny seed becoming food. Even if I have to battle weather, plant diseases, pests/critters, I get such fun out of my "harvest" of even a handful of food that came from my own dirt.

        1. For all the reasons the three above posters said, plus:

          *I relish our growing independence from the grocery store and CAFO meat and dairy (we're growing chickens too and there's lambs, goats, and a dairy cow in out future)

          *I like sticking it to Monsanto, et al in my own small way by choosing open-pollinated and heritage varieties, saving seed, and not using their products.

          *Looking at the pantry full of preserves, the full freezers, the containers of dehydrated produce, the various places around the house and garage that hold root cellar stashes in the fall gives me a huge feeling of security and satisfaction that all those way too hot hours during the end of July and through August were so absolutely worth it.

          *Putting meals on the table that consist entirely of the fruits of our own labor. Well, except for s&p, oil, an exotic spice, or sometimes white sugar.

          *Donating our spare produce to our extremely local food bank that delivers directly to shut-ins and at risk families in our county

          *Using our garden as a teaching tool. "Give a woman some produce and she'll eat for a day. Teach a woman to garden and preserve and she and her family will eat for a lifetime."

          5 Replies
          1. re: morwen

            Your list and my list are almost identical. I totally agree with each of your points. In addition I also love horticulture and enjoy watching the daily miracles in the garden. It amazes me that all these hundreds of different seeds produce completely different things. As a Master Gardener I use herbs, etc. from the garden as teaching tools in both hort and cooking classes.

            LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!

            1. re: morwen

              "I like sticking it to Monsanto, et al in my own small way by choosing open-pollinated and heritage varieties, saving seed, and not using their products."

              I so bitterly despise big agri-business that this made me want to jump up and cheer. Thanks for doing your part! And put an heirloom in the ground for me this year, will ya, morwen, while I sojourn in the wilderness -- er, I mean a condo without so much as a balcony? :)

              1. re: LauraGrace

                With a quick google search, I see that there are "millions" of organic consumers in a campaign against Monsanto, but there without digging further into that website, there's nothing that immediately defines the reason for or the purpose of the "campaign". (Journalism 101 - always define the "what" in the first paragraph)

                I appreciate your comments, so for the benefit for those of us not so organically leaning, what, in brief, have they done to raise the ire in seemingly so many.

                1. re: CocoaNut

                  My biggest beef with Monsanto is their campaign against independent farmers using non-GM and heritage seeds for their crops. If a farmer's crop is downwind of a Monsanto seeded field and gets pollinated by it (and that field can be literally miles away from the Monsanto field), the resulting seed from the farmer's crop carries Monsanto patented genetically engineered genes. Monsanto has a history of prosecuting these farmers for patent violations and either forcing them to capitulate or driving them out of business. The same goes for owners of small businesses who help these farmers process seeds they've saved for their next year's crops. They are considered accessories to the "crime".

                  Almost on a level of persecuting farmers who don't want to use Monsanto seeds and products, is Monsanto's GM seeds are cleverly engineered to work only with their Round-Up products and contain a "suicide" gene so the plants can't go to seed preventing farmers from saving seed from their crops for next year's planting and forcing them into a cycle of buying Monsanto seeds and products.

                  I also find horrific the fact that small truck farmers and backyard gardeners are not safe from this kind of persecution should Monsanto so choose to pursue it.

                  The third beef is the number of ex-Monsanto and other Big AG-Big Food executives sitting as chairmen and members/employees of government agencies overseeing farming and food production. I think it reeks of collusion.

                  And lastly, but just as importantly, the buying out of independent commercial seed houses and nurseries in order to control the flow of seeds and plants, and the cover company that goes by the name of Seminis used to distribute their seed to seed houses and nurseries without using the Monsanto name.

                  1. re: morwen

                    Thank you.

                    >> used to distribute their seed to seed houses and nurseries without using the Monsanto name.

                    and are these seed only distributed in a bulk/wholesale fashion or do they ultimately end up in packets such as Ferry-Morris?

            2. ha- I ask myself that question ALL THE TIME.

              Honestly, I think the biggest reason is that my parents always had a vegetable garden when I was growing up. For some reason, gardening is one of the few rituals from my childhood that got imprinted on my brain (I certainly don't cook a lot of Spam, lol!).

              Since I've had a family I feel a bit more of a benefit for all this (often fruitless) hard work. There is nothing better than your kids helping themselves to a snack while they're out playing in the yard. The apline strawberries & blueberry bushes have been great.

              Lately I'm trying to grow more things that are hard to find, even at farmer's markets. So adding in some perennial salad greens (sorrel, lovage), sour cherry tree, and plans for an apricot tree this year.