20-SOMETHING-YEAR-OLD GARDENER | FARMER'S WIFE LIFE
Each spring, you can find me in the plant aisle chatting it up with the lovely ladies who are 3x my age—likely gossiping with them about how this store has better looking plants than that store, or scoffing at the selection of tomato varieties.
Oh, how I love gardening. And, today I am sharing three of the biggest reasons why:
Gardening has always been a summer tradition for both my parents and grandparents. Mom loves to tell the story of baby Chelsea sitting at the corner of the garden while she worked, and then looking up to see me eating a fistful of dirt. So yeah, the green thumb runs deep. Mom is still my garden advisor and Dad and I have friendly competitions over whose asparagus is taller (MINE!) or who picked what first (That’s always him). Even at my college apartment, I just HAD to have a tomato plant on the balcony. After buying our first house with a little yard, my container gardening got a little bigger. Then, when we were able to move out to the farm, it didn’t take long for Ryan to disk up part of our yard so I could grow all the things.
Another major reason for me, is that I love to know where my food comes from, and find it incredibly rewarding to work for it. Because Ryan and I are both hunters, we are fortunate enough to add a couple of deer to our freezer each year. This is enough for the two of us to enjoy steaks, roasts, and ground bulk without buying ANY beef. Hunting makes a huge difference in this lifestyle, but the garden really fills in the gaps. Of course, a lot of it is seasonal, but I have found ways to preserve the crops so that we can continue to enjoy them until the next growing season. Tomatoes make up a huge part of the garden so that I can preserve them for chili, pasta sauce, and salsa (this year I am going to attempt a Bloody Mary mix!!). Zucchini is also huge for our garden. I have found a ton of recipes that involve zucchini to replace breads, pastas and doughs, so I freeze it cubed, shredded and also sliced. There are so many options for canning and freezing various veggies. So, if there is something you eat frequently, I recommend growing it yourself! It will taste so. much. better.
To dig a little bit deeper (ha! garden pun!), the garden also provides a responsibility that forces me to routinely slow down and be mindful. I am not the type of person that likes to sit still, and I typically have to force myself to just be present. When I am planting, watering, weeding, and picking—I am also thinking. It’s a reset button that I can’t find when I am camped out on the couch watching Netflix. Yes, it’s work. But, if I didn’t garden, I would find another way to fill my time that would probably be less productive and less mind clearing.
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