Since at least 2008 we’ve been championing that people with land should plant a food garden. The best time to start your garden is today, the second best time is tomorrow. Being stuck at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 has inspired people to start growing their own gardens – great! Interest in gardening has grown this year and this means (very) local produce for more people. Gardening is fun and a great way to better understand food you eat, give it a shot!
For a city boy like me, born and raised in Brooklyn, where I had spent most of my adult life, this was all very new. Once you get your hands in soilâ€”really get dirty with it, feel it under your fingernailsâ€”thereâ€™s a change in perspective, and youâ€™re someone different. Youâ€™ve opened the tiniest of windows onto the ecological reality of the forces that sustain human existence, the biogeophysical relationships of water, sunlight, air, earth. Quite suddenly, what seemed mysterious quotientsâ€”say, the balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon, and potassiumâ€”become commonalities of understanding and, eventually, of wisdom. The plants that depend on all those factors in harmony rise up, or they donâ€™t.
Itâ€™s hard to express the pride and lovingness and delight in seeing a plant germinate, and grow tall and hardy, and then flower and put fruit out. When the crop came fresh and healthy last summerâ€”there wasnâ€™t a hint of blight, and no insects attacked itâ€”I felt a bit like Viva and I had brought green babies into adulthood. We will never not do it again.