Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home Gardening Is Hot

I have been loving this resurgence of interest in home gardening. Not only is it good for gardening-book publishers (see Publishers Weekly's take on it here), it's good for the environment, our bodies, and our souls.

My husband and I both grew up watching our grandfathers till the soil every spring and plant backyard gardens. In fact, Grandpa Hand was still planting onions when he couldn't stand up any longer, by sitting in a chair in the yard. They would grow tomatoes, bell peppers (which my grandparents erroneously called mangoes), potatoes, onions, and other basic staples that grow well in Indiana.

Ever since we set up housekeeping, Jason and I have had a garden. I have been a sporadic helper to his tireless efforts. We've tried all sorts of things in addition to the basics, such as snow peas, cucumbers, corn, herbs, carrots, watermelon, strawberries, and canteloupe--with varying degrees of success. We don't like pesticides, so we've had heartbreaking losses to bugs, birds, and bunnies. (If we are to really live off our land, we're going to have to get medieval on the pests this year, somehow. Marigolds and chili powder just aren't cutting it.)

And then there's the composter. Sometimes I resent the fact that I'm not allowed to throw away any vegetable scrap, eggshell, or coffee ground--it has to be finely chopped and hauled out to the stinky composter. But that has paid off in terms of loamy goodness that is transforming our clay soil into the envy of our novice gardening neighbors. Now he wants to buy a $150 rain barrel.

I think that if people spent less time in their cars running to and fro and spending money, they could get a good workout in the yard, reap the benefits of the fresh air, and save some money on their grocery bills--all while eating something healthier. It's a win-win proposition, and I hope the trend continues.


Steph Mineart said...

If you have recommendations about good home gardening books, I'd love to get that information. I'm flying by the seat of my pants, and should do some actually research.

Lori Cates Hand said...

I'm checking with an authority and will have some recommendations for you soon!

Lori Cates Hand said...

Okay, here's one for you: Cindy Kitchel recommends The Garden Primer. I thought she'd recommend one of her own books, but she didn't. :)