I watched a CNN special one evening a while back and they were asking children questions about various things. Where does food come from? The store was the reply. Where does the store get the food? They make it there. I found that to be beyond sad and actually very disheartening.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 3, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
Right now, today there is a trend which is sweeping this nation. It is a good trend and one that is long over due. More and more gardeners are using the space they have in their gardens to grow their own food. Whether it be herbs, tomatoes, peas or potatoes, there is a renewed vigor to grow our own.
Organic and all natural are words that one encounters more often than not. We WANT to be healthier and we WANT to experience the goodness and immense satisfaction from growing something ourselves. It gives me so much pleasure that in these days of becoming more environmental and health conscious so many are returning to the older days of gardening. Move over ornamentals, we have some veggies to grow!
When I lived in the UK, I did not know one single person who had a garden that didn't have some sort of food item growing. More often than not, tomatoes were the crop of choice. I got caught up in the spirit of a kitchen garden as well and my plot was wonderful. I had courgettes (that's zucchini for us Americans), pumpkins, peas, beans, turnips, carrots, strawberries and so much more. I also had a complete herb garden. I rarely had to buy fruit and veg at the supermarket. I took pleasure in growing my own.
Here in Arizona, I can grow many of the things I once did but at different times of year. I am praying for a second crop of tomatoes come late autumn. I am also praying the yield was greater than my first attempt. There is an art and methodology to growing tomatoes here. I just need to figure it all out.
So what prompted this article? A watermelon. Yep, I cut into and enjoyed my very own melon today. Watermelons do well here and I can say right here and now this melon was the juiciest, sweetest melon I have ever had the pleasure of eating. I harvested the melon yesterday and I held it with pride. What a healthy, heavy, perfect melon you are! I said aloud. I took it in and set in the fridge. Today during lunch we ceremoniously cut it in half to reveal this wonderful piece of perfection hand grown by me. The way I carried on you would think I was the first person in the world to ever cultivate a watermelon in a garden!
Though it may not seem it this IS a big deal. We typically don't grow our own food. That's a shame really if you think about it. So, let me pose the questions to all who read this. Are you growing your own fruit or veg? If not, do you want to? Go on then. Pick yourself out a spot and ear mark it for a kitchen garden. Do a bit of reading here at Dave's and consult the forums about growing veggies, etc. There is a Beginner Vegetables Discussion forum for all those that want to grow something but don't quite know where to start. No matter where you live in the world you can grow some type of food. Why not get started today? You will not experience anything more satisfying or delicious then something hand grown by you.
PS: If you have the room, the warm days of summer extend to at least three months, and you want to grow a watermelon, I'll give you some seeds! Just D-mail me and I'll send you seeds from the fruit I spoke about in this article. These are not the big melons but the smaller roundish ones. They pack some great flavor despite their size though!
About Benjamin Hill
I am an old fashioned gardener. To me nothing is finer than the romantic cottage gardens. The colours and forms create a symphony to delight all the senses. I love to tell a good story and my garden provides my inspiration. I am blessed to have such a beautiful son and I enjoy teaching him to love and appreciate the goodness, peace and fulfillment tending a garden can bring. Finally, I shall be forever grateful to Alan Titchmarsh for inspiring me to get out there and make something out of a little bit of earth.