Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why I garden; and why do you garden?

I've been thinking about why I recently got so very interested in growing my own vegetable garden. I've come up with a few reasons:
  • It's in my genes; or at least it was a learned gift from my mom when she sarted gardening the summer after our November 1976 move to our family farm. 
  • It's sustainable; growing my own food reduces the carbon footprint my food requires to get from source to my table. The community garden at work adds to the sustainability, I drive to work anyway, so there is no extra driving to access the garden before or after work.
  • It's possible; we have some sunny south-facing spots at home, and the community garden at work, while small, has 180 degree access to all-day sun.
  • It's trendy; pick up any newspaper or magazine and you can read about the "local food movement," reducing the carbon footprint of food, people raising chickens in their back yards, etc. I think we have a certain vibe here in Madison that encourages it as well; the city composts leaves that we can buy cheap, city dwellers are allowed to raise three hens and there are community gardens everywhere.
  • It's good; there is simply nothing like a warm, ripe tomato picked off the vine and eaten right there in the garden, or soon after in the kitchen
Why do you garden? Please leave a comment, we'd all like to know what inspires you to get into your garden.


  1. • It's a healthy activity: fresh air, sun and exercise in a deliberate and constructive manner with an objective in mind (not some pointless repetitive activity).
    • It's food I can trust to be as healthy for me as I have made it, with no added chemicals or "added value" processing.
    • It's more nutritious: as fresh as possible, picked minutes before the meal.
    • Gardening (in general) puts me outside and more in touch with the weather, the flora and fauna about me.
    • Growing my own food gives me some control over my diet, my life.

    Betsy in Middleton

  2. Response to Jay - I've been thinking about the "cheaper" aspect of gardening. There are a lot of up front costs (rain barrels, seedling lights and heat pads, fencing, compost, garden tools, etc.) but committing to gardening for the long-haul will average these costs to less and less per year.

    Does anyone else have thoughts on minimizing the up front costs of gardening?

  3. I have always felt that gardening is therapeutic for me, it lets me unwind after working within a busy everyday world.

  4. I echo everyone's sentiments: it's good; it's in my genes (my dad has a green thumb, though more for flowers); it's therapeutic. Also, it's green (no pun intended) -- I have to do something with all the compost we accumulate.

    As for minimizing the up-front gardening costs -- Craigslist, baby! Lots of used stuff available there.

  5. I garden to preserve my sanity and because it's deep in my blood as a farm boy. When I've worked in my garden for an hour or so, I relax and my mind stops buzzing around. My only worry is whether or not the kohlrabi is big enough to pick for dinner.

  6. I also think it's necessary in order to begin to create a sustainable future for the local and the global community. And this community is also an answer to your question about reducing up front costs- in a functional community people could help each other out with labor, materials, etc.

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