Have you ever been presented challenges that seem impossible to overcome, but when you make the choice to proceed, you end up surpassing the goal and going further than you could ever imagine?
This is gardening for me. I didn’t know that I had a green thumb until last winter. I started out by buying mini cilantro and basil plants at Whole Foods, and placing them by my windowsill to bathe in the sun. They sat there for months before I even considered moving them out of their plastic pots. My first achievement in gardening was when I filled a planter bed with soil from my backyard and moved the herbs into it. I never expected more to come out of my gardening endeavors until a friend urged me to do more. I was overwhelmed on my first trip to the garden center. I had no idea how or when to start seeds, what type of soil to purchase, or how to build a raised garden bed. Over time, with assistance from the same friend, I converted my backyard into a full size garden. I have several raised beds around my backyard filled with a mixture of high quality organic soil. My plants have grown exponentially from their seed stages, and I can now harvest lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from my backyard any time I need.
Although it took a good bit of time and work, all the materials I needed were accessible and affordable. The garden is an investment that can have highly valuable returns. The time spent in the garden is an opportunity to slow down, breathe, connect to the Earth and nourish the spirit. In terms of health, a garden can provide fresh produces to supplement a diet. The nutrients and compounds present in foods are at their peak when first harvested, so being able to reduce the time it takes for food to reach the table has great health benefits. Also, the distance homegrown food travels (from the backyard garden to the cutting board) is impeccably small and completely carbon neutral, and when compared to commercially grown foods, provides a strong example of sustainable living.