Gardening. Many people do it, many others wish they did. If you’re in the latter half of these groups or don’t really think much about gardening I urge you to consider it. The feeling of eating something that you grew is incomparable to anything else! That as well as you can start to understand the soil underneath your feet with a little bit of active learning. We’ve made strides in soil research but as to a quote from the renaissance:
“We know more about the movement of the celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot”
Leonardo da Vinci
This is why I urge you to check out this video on soil from a world renowned scientist lecturing about the importance of soil and how we need to help it moving forward!
Really it’s not even that hard to garden, some people may be limited by space, yes but that just means that they cannot create a traditional garden. Instead of having the traditional soil bed with many different types of vegetables growing in it, these space limited city slickers should focus on creating with what they have. Using things like trellises , to maximize efficiency and even hanging smaller pots for herbs and spices from this. Or you could be like me and plant a tomato plant in a pot. This was rather easy and allowed me to gather my bounty near the beginning of the fall!
I am not sure if all of these garden appreciation rules will translate to these smaller non traditional gardens, but I imagine that more than a few of them will! Most of the appreciation comes from your soil and the plants you are growing. These appreciations will only come back to you tenfold if you can do it right.
I’ve always grown up with gardening in my life. My parents each growing bounties ranging from peppers to squash; this hobby bringing my love for food and the outdoors into a new appreciation. This new gratitude for the food grown brought the love for gardening along with beautiful flowers to welcome all of the visitors to our home.
A garden is a place where you can get back to basics and begin to appreciate nature and natural foods. It brings you back to earth (ha get it?) by growing your own food from the soil.
Yet I am willing to bet that you have never thought your garden would appreciate you? It is true your garden, or the life within the soil and the plants you grow, appreciate you for cultivating them instead of putting a rug of grass over. The soil and many of its inhabitants don’t change and become dominated by only a few types of life when there is this rug of grass over them. With the tilling of soil, different plants being planted in the garden, and constant applications of water and other nutrients the soil’s inhabitants in a garden are constantly fed and entertained allowing for a more diverse community!
With more diverse soil communities many things are accomplished. There is a higher likelihood of not having nasty fungus and bacteria overtaking your plants for one. This natural blocking agent is more supportive of ecosystems, instead of using pesticides that wipe out all of the diversity good and bad. Using suppressive soil is beneficial to the ecosystem that is your garden and yard!
Another argument for more diversity in this soil system, there is a higher chance of natural nitrogen being fixed into the system instead of outside nitrogen having to be added as fertilizer. Using natural nitrogen fixers like legumes such as peas and beans is one of the most efficient ways to make your plants happy.
Isn’t making your plants happy one of your goals? Oh wait it’s to make you happy? Well aren’t you happy that you are creating a sustainable thriving ecosystem that will keep producing benefits towards you for time to come? A quote from FDR sums this idea up:
“The history of every Nation is eventually written in the way in which it cares for its soil. The United States… is now emerging from its youthful stage of heedless exploitation and is beginning to realize the supreme importance of treating the soil well.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
This quote was from soon after the dust bowl in 1935. After this President Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, which in turn created the Soil Conservation Service which has been recently renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These services has been heeded well, but more work still needs to be done if we want to grow crops at the same rate we are now. As of late much land especially farm land has not been cared for correctly in how its soil is covered. This is where we must be careful in our gardens and farm fields.
Unlike areas where there is concrete covering every square foot of area, like in a city creating a dead zone underneath it, your garden can become a place teeming with life! In cities not many organisms can live under stone or concrete for their entire lives.
Growing food not only gives you food freedom and sustainability, but doesn’t add to big agriculture and the fossil fuels that are used to transport these items. By reducing our carbon-footprint and also going back to our roots (too many easy puns) there are many more opportunities to teach your children how the earth affects them! Instilling an appreciation for nature by showing your children how interconnected all life is on our Earth is something that I believe future generations will miss out on more and more. This is even more so true with the advent of the easily accessible smartphone and other technology.