“Growing a garden is like having friends. Growing a vegetable garden is like having a child.” -Rich Merrill, author of “The Gardener’s Table”.
It’s a pretty good analogy. There is a level of commitment needed to keep things going in the garden. Ornamentals require weeding and deadheading, and maybe an annual pruning – a once-a-week sort of connection. You can pull out anything that does not agree with your garden soil and replant with another flower or foliage plant at a whim. Benign neglect works just fine in this sort of garden.
For vegetables, it is another thing entirely. Daily attention is required. Often it isn’t much… an afternoon stop with a cup of tea in hand to check who needs water, and where the neighborhood cats got in. Sometimes, it is all day with emergency gopher treatment, or putting up bird netting. There is always something to do, and I always feel better for making the effort. This past year, for me, working in the garden has been my solace and comfort.
Soil condition is more critical in a kitchen garden, and can often benefit from a proper scientific analysis. This doesn’t cost much and is available at any agricultural lab. Request organic soil recommendations from the lab, to be certain you are not putting down dangerous chemicals where food is trying to grow. Be sure to test the water you give the plants, too. It is quite possible extra ‘nutrients’ there are also contributing to your challenges.
Both types of gardens begin with a seed. And seeds, especially those of the organic, heirloom, and regional varieties, are increasingly difficult to come by. Small seed companies are being bought by large multi-nationals as seed catalogs are continually ‘refined’, dropping the rarest of the rare for the sake of profit. It is a lot like the consolidation of media outlets in the 1980’s and soon only two or three companies will own most of our seeds.
It comes down to you, the potential gardener. Voting with your consumer dollars is the best way to voice your product preference. Our sidebar offers you an option, one place to get good organic, and heirloom seeds.
And here is a great big “Thank you!!” in advance. Because, yes, if you click on the offer here, a tiny portion of your seed order will help to support our work at the Homemakers Guild, too.