Food Glorious Food

“The whole world is a garden, and what a wonderful place it would be, if we each took care of our part of the Earth, our garden.” Anonymous

Contemporary gardening has become a project rife with aesthetic objectives throughout the western world. Beautiful gardens containing non-edible, non-native and often difficult-to-cultivate plant-life have become the norm due to people’s over-reliance of cheap oil. Worse still, many people have totally abandoned the concept of gardening altogether and have spread either tarmac or concrete throughout their land to avoid the pesky task of weeding*. We are ultimately responsible for our actions and inactions, and although there is a case to cast blame upon the parasitical classes for our predicament, we can make the changes to repair our beloved planet ourselves – with or without them.

Mother earth is being killed through man’s activities. This is not an alarmist, paranoid, conspiracy theory, and the evidence to support this claim is growing day-by-day. Over the previous few millennia, man had chopped down many forests, over-worked the land, spread chemicals, and essentially lost touch with what he is – one of many the species that constitute the earth’s bio-diversity. Our actions are destroying the soil, and the soil is vital to the earth’s wonderful wildlife, and therefore also for mankind. Similar to the debt-based Ponzi schemes, continuing to kick-the-can-down-the-road and not addressing our destructive behavior will only exacerbate the problem. John Jeavons, a pioneer of sustainable farming methods, has been studying the topic for many years and writes, “Some studies indicate that as little as 36 to 52 years of farmable soil may remain on the planet.” Although there will be many solutions proposed for the peak-food problem, you, as an individual or part of a group, can commence today and view your garden as source of food, health, beauty, and peace.

This essay is not intended to provide a how-to guide to gardening, although I will direct the reader to websites and provide tips, the primary aim is to provide a justification for starting a self-sufficient life style today, and cease kicking-the-can-down-the-road. You, as a member of the Earth’s bio-diversity, must stop acting like a cancer-cell and work with, instead of against, the other cells/life-forms around you and become more harmonious with nature. The near-term maturing economic crisis will hit hard, but many will still be living without artificial oil-based fertilizers and mass-farming methods once the worst of the monetary war is behind us. Why wait until the inevitable happens when you can start to grow your own fruit and vegetables today and commence a life in which your aim is to be healthy, happy, and at peace with your surroundings?

Your surroundings should be a key consideration when selecting which seeds to grow. Even within the same town, street, and individual garden, the conditions can vary tremendously in light, wind, and temperature. Vegetables require sunlight, and so many of us will have parts of the garden completely unsuited to growing them. Nearby houses, trees, fences and walls will present a problem to many, and the first task you need to undertake is an examination of the sunlight levels in various parts of your garden. Once you’ve identified the area that receives the most light, you should prepare some seed beds. You then must observe wind direction and speed, along with temperature, before selecting your seed. Certain plants may flourish in colder climates whilst others perish. In my current location, I need to consider cool temperature effects along with cold wind effects. However, rainfall and drought are not vital in my preparations. Baring fundamental climate change, it’s going to rain regularly and heavily here in northern England. My primary problems are heat and daylight, and so a greenhouse was high on my shopping list.

Once you’ve identified a suitable area and researched which real seed to grow, you must consider which path you will follow. There are many methods available to the novice gardener, and the one you choose will ultimately be your decision. Various people will recommend different gardening ways, and you should consider what you want to grow, and where you are, throughout the decision-making process. My preference is the use of raised-beds as I live in a cold climate, and the soil warms more quickly resulting in earlier germination. I’m also currently learning the ‘bio intensive’ technique, as the emphasis is about ease, minimal use of resources, and repairing the Earth’s soil.

Many people live in tower-blocks, with little opportunity to prepare seed-beds, and such people really should contemplate moving. If moving is not possible, then urban dirt-less gardening could be a consideration. There is also the option of growing indoors and under lamps, perhaps in a garage or spare room. The primary problem I see with this method is the dependence upon power to the lamps, but it could certainly be a solution for those packed-in, stressed-out, over-crowded urban dwellers. For those that have the opportunity to garden their own patch of land, you should consider it both a source of food and a vessel to re-tune your mind towards what you ultimately are – an interdependent ‘cell’ of the earth. Gardening is multi-functional and has more appeal that simply harvesting crops. Relaxation and the subsequent thought processes are beneficial to health via the mind-body interaction. Contemporary Psychology is quite clear that stress causes illness through lowering the immune system, and through causing mal-adaptive cognitive processes. Make your garden a haven from the inevitable chaos that’s accelerating throughout the world; a place of hope, peace, and tranquility.

In summary, growing your own food is an important aspect of the paradigm shift we are currently experiencing. There are many methods available for you to access, and although simple pragmatism should be your priority, please also consider the option of the bio-intensive technique, as preserving and growing the soil for future generations is an obligation you shouldn’t really pass-the-buck on. Your garden can become a source of inspiration as well as your primary source of food and medicine. I’ll leave you with the wise words of Gandhi:

“To forget how to dig the soil is to forget oneself.”—Gandhi

 

Bibliography

Back Garden Seed saving: S.Stickland, 2008, eco-logic books.
UK-based. Relevant to all gardeners though.
Breed your own Vegetable Varieties: Carol Deppe, 1993, Little, Brown & Company.
US-based. Relevant to all gardeners though.
Grow your own vegetables: J. Larkcom, 2002, Frances Lincoln Limited, UK.
UK-based. Relevant to all gardeners though.
Organic Gardening: P. Pears and S.Stickland, 1999, Royal Horticultural Society.
UK-based. Relevant to all gardeners though
Seed to Seed: Suzanne Ashworth, 1991, Seed Savers Publications, USA.
US-based. Relevant to all gardeners though.

Note: Buy the book, or at least print out a copy. Don’t rely on apple kindles as they could break or you might be unable to purchase a battery. This concept should apply to all books/information you want/need.

Useful web-pages:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5044015_grow-garden-dirt.html

http://growbiointensive.org/

http://www.johnjeavons.info/

http://microecofarming.com/

http://www.squarefootgardening.org/

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