Thursday, May 5, 2011

Goals of the Garden

Some reasons for Stealth Farming

There are many reasons to grow your own food and to do the other things that are associated with gardening. There are probably as many reasons are there are gardeners, if you consider that your reason is different from mine even if we use the same words to describe it. If I grow one because I want to, and you do because you want to, those are different reasons even though they sound the same.

I have been thinking recently about what I’m doing here and what I want to get out of this project and I thought I might jot down a few of the reasons to share with you. This will help you understand me better but the biggest thing it will do is to help me focus my thinking and become much more clear on my own motivation.

I like fresh food. I like the taste of tomatoes that actually have flavor. Too many of the fruits and vegetables that we buy in the supermarkets, no matter how ‘fresh’ the signs say they are, have no taste or at most a very bland, watered down flavor. That’s not going to make me enjoy eating. I want to eat because it tastes good first. It can be nutritious, that’s fine, but I want it to taste good first.

I can’t get good tasting lettuce in the stores. It’s just not there. I’m not shopping at the Whole Foods store to get the organic stuff they sell because there isn’t one anywhere near my side of town. To drive 15 or 20 miles to the store to get organic produce to reduce my impact on the environment seems counterproductive if you consider all the gas I have to use to get there. I can grow organic lettuce at home and did this spring.

The stuff I grew tasted. It had flavor. It wasn’t bland or plain or tasteless. It was good. I lament the idea that it gets too hot here too soon for lettuce and I’m looking for more heat-tolerant varieties to plant. I also loved the idea that it was fresh. Step out the back door with a bowl and a pair of scissors and voila! You’ve got a salad. I didn’t even need to drown it with dressing, either. Its flavor stood on its own.

That’s one reason.

I like the challenge of finding ways to grow lettuce more than just during our short Spring. I’m looking into Fall production and Winter growing, too. The idea of a fresh salad at Christmas is very intriguing.

That’s another reason.

I also like the idea that my daughter could go out back and pick fresh lettuce for the sandwiches she made to take to work for her lunch. She got a kick out of it, too. To be able to share an appreciation for good, fresh, healthy foods with your kids and grandkids is wonderful. To be able to introduce to them other vegetables than what they are used to is also great.

Sharing the garden is another reason. (I just don’t want to share it with the dogs. Yesterday, they left 4 separate deposits in my garden. Four. Who feeds dogs that much?)

I like the idea of self-reliance. Too often the term used is self-sufficiency. Those are completely different terms. While there are, maybe, some things in which a person can be totally self-sufficient, living on this planet isn’t among them. We need people and we need to be needed by other people. It’s the way we were wired. Being self-sufficient means that we can provide for whatever we need or want. We don’t need or even have use for other people. That just ain’t so.

We need to be actively involved in doing as much as we can for ourselves and we need to be actively engaged in doing what we can for others. If we see something that another person lacks that we can fulfill, we have an obligation to offer it to them. We cannot force it upon them, it’s still their choice whether to accept it or not. But we are obligated to make it available to them if they want.

The flipside to this is that when they see a need in us that they can fulfill, the obligation becomes theirs.

I like that and hope to be able to do more of that in the future with my Stealth Farming.

When I am working in the garden, I feel the life that’s there. I talk to my plants, to the birds, bugs and worms and they talk to me. (Not in actual audible words, I’m not wacko.) By watching them and following what they do, I learn a lot about them. Learning is fun.

That’s another reason.

When I read in the scriptures stories about gardens, plants, and planters, I see how they relate to me by comparing the stories to what I do when I farm or garden. My spiritual education grows in the garden, too. I feel closer to all of creation when I do.

That’s a great reason.

These are not all of the reasons I put seeds in soil and tend them. These are just a few of my reasons.

What are yours?


  1. I had a number of reasons to start my little courtyard garden. First and foremost, I really enjoyed gardening with you last summer. It was educational, taught me another lesson on responsibility, and extremely exciting as each new plant started growing and fruited. It was a feeling of pride and accomplishment that I got and I missed that feeling.

    Another reason I wanted to have my own garden, besides being able to choose what I was going to plant, was to force myself to be outside. I spend so much of my time in the house, I forget what it's like out there. This puts me outside at least an hour each day and I love it.

    The next reason was to have my own fruits and vegetables readily available so that I would eat healthier.

    And the last reason I planted my garden was so I could give a little bit of what you gave to me to Sophia. She grew her own tomato plant from a seed and we just transplanted it in the garden last week. The pride in ownership she shows for that little plant is awesome.

    Thanks Dad!

  2. What a nice thing to say. You did a great job last summer on the garden. Your single-handed warfare on the squashbugs was relentless and inspiring.

    I hope your garden yields as much of what you want as you want, including food.


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