I came home last Thursday to discover my two chickens were dead, killed by a mink. Oh, and my honey bees didn’t make it through the winter.. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a great afternoon in the garden.
The closer I get to the source of my food, the more I appreciate those to grow it on my behalf. It most certainly isn’t all rosy cheeks, red barns, green fields and blue skies. It’s also blisters, bug infestations, dead livestock, and hive collapse.
I remember removing the cloth protecting my three cauliflower and out flew a couple of dread white cabbage moths – they are the ones whose larvae munch on the roots of brassica and kill them. I was more than a little bummed – but then I thought about the farmer who had hundreds of plants in the field and was relying on them to not only survive until harvest, but make it to market in a condition that’s sellable.
Raising my own vegetables makes me a different kind of consumer. I understand the price for produce grown on good land by good people, I appreciate that it doesn’t have to look pretty to be delicious, and I know what it means to buy ‘in season’. The only time asparagus should show up on my plate is in spring, and there’s no point eating tomatoes after September.
Farming is hard, even harder when it’s done with care and attention to health of the soil, the plant, and the worker.
So with the ground drying out and the air heating up, I invite you to spend some time this spring cultivating a small plot and grow what will grow for you. But, just know, it’s ok if your crop fails – you can always go to the market and support your local producer.
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