While shoveling and wheelbarrowing dirt these past couple days, I’ve had some serious time to pause and ask myself, “now why am I doing this, exactly?” The image in my mind of turning our backyard into a garden oasis seems farther away, rather than closer, as we dig, uproot, and move heavy, wet piles of dirt around the space that resemble T-Rex dung (as my son aptly pointed out yesterday). Hardly a paradise for the butterflies and hummingbirds I’d hoped to coax into the space.
Sure we could’ve done things on a smaller scale…but I guess that’s not who I am. When I get excited about something…I go all out. That’s how I’m hardwired. So, readers…today I nearly had a mini-breakdown (but I didn’t). I really had to stop and remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place. I came up with 5 reasons.
Reason #1. To eat healthier. This is perhaps an obvious one, but it’s an important one, is it not? I want to eat better and set a better example for my kids. Like many kids, they can be pretty picky eaters. I want to encourage healthy eating habits from an early age. Because we’ll be growing this food ourselves, I can ensure the quality of it. I’ll know what kind of fertilizers and pest control methods I’ve used. I’ll know what’s gone into the soil. I’ll know if I’ve chosen to start my garden from organic seeds or not.
Reason #2. To learn an essential life skill. With so many modern conveniences, I think there’s so little we actually know how to do for ourselves anymore. I think there must be something very rewarding about realizing that YES, I can grow my own food! And it’ll be good!
Reason #3. To turn our yard into more usable space. We have a decent chunk of land and every summer, I tire of watering the lawn to keep it all nice looking…when it barely gets used. While our project is large, it’s becoming every bit a landscaping project as much as a gardening one. I feel we’ll be making better use of our resources this way.
Reason #4. To make memories. I have very fond childhood memories of going into my grandpa’s garden. He would show us the rows of neatly planted beets, carrots, and corn. We’d awe at the size of the squash and zucchini! And then, my grandma was always hard at work canning, pickling, and preserving. How wonderful to live off the healthy food you’ve grown – and to share that experience with your children! I am truly looking forward to spending meaningful time with my kids outdoors in our garden.
Reason #5. To inspire others. Am I some sort of garden pro? Good gravy NO! And I sure hope you don’t think I am! I am just a gal, wanting to do something for the health and betterment of my family. I’m here to share my experiences – good, bad, ugly – with you. I hope in the process I’ll inspire some of you to join me.
If you have a garden – or if you’re thinking of starting – why do you do it? What are your reasons?
Photo credit Sasha Hoffman