Over the past eight years, I have fallen completely in love with growing our own food. Even when I feel frustrated (like when the weeds win in August), or when I have failures (I poured way too much mineral fertilizer on the garden this year and killed half my blueberries), I know I will try again the next season. I also know, if I had had access to someone like myself when I started, I could have succeeded a lot faster and a lot more easily. That is the reason we opened the Homestead Center. We want to share the summary of our learning process with other people so they don't have to hunt and peck like we did.
I posted on our Facebook page yesterday about how out of sorts I felt. This time of year it feels like I am losing the battle with nature. We cut grass. We attempt to keep the weeds and then the forest from taking back our yards. We paint the house to protect it from the elements, and then within weeks notice the elements are winning again. I do laundry and then look at the load that my family is wearing as I fold clothes. On these days I feel like an ant whose mound has been kicked over. We sigh and start rebuilding every morning.
My mood mimics nature. August in Mississippi is when everything burns up, shrivels, dries, and slows to a crawl. Before I gardened I didn't pay attention to what nature or the elements or the weather were doing one way or another. I just moved from one temperature controlled climate to the next, only noticing the extremes like tornadoes, snow, or a big storm. When you garden you become intimately united with the natural world because you are dependent on it. In fact you are subject to it. But the most amazing thing about gardening is that even in the face of being so small in the large scope of things, we can make miracles happen.
Every time I put that tiny seed in the ground or in a starting pot, I have my doubts. How is it possible that a single tomato seed could produce a sprawling plant and baskets of fruit? A radish is more acceptable for its size and its result, but even so...I always want to giggle when I find my first reddish egg pushing its shoulder out above the dirt! Sunlight, water, healthy soil - is that it? Not possible.
Mike and I garden for several very practical reasons.
- We grow about $3000 worth of organic produce every year for our family
- We want our kids to know where their food comes from and we want to know exactly what we are putting in their bodies
- We can't get all the varieties of products we want locally
- We no longer pay a gym membership
We also garden for some very unpractical reasons.
- Gardening reconnects you with your natural world
- Gardening reminds us that we are dependent on something bigger than ourselves
- Gardening produces miracles right in your own backyard
While we host events every year at the Homestead on Natural Gardening, we understand that not all of our Members can make it out to the physical location for these hands-on learning activities. That is why this year, we are bringing them to you! The Homestead receives one-third of its budget from Members. We want to make sure your Membership is worth your financial commitment.
On Wednesday of this week, July 30th, we will open up registration for our very first Virtual 5-Part Natural Gardening Series: Guinea Pig to Green Thumb This series is FREE to our Members. All you have to do is register to receive each of the 5 information packed videos and accompanying hand-outs in your inbox over the next three weeks. Our challenge is to take Matt Heblon, who has never gardened, and teach him enough to harvest a successful garden in his own backyard.
If you want to learn to garden simply, this is your chance. Fall gardening in Mississippi is arguably the best time to grow a garden. Follow along with us and do your Homework assignments at the end of each session, and by the beginning of September, you will have a producing garden in your back yard right along with Matt.
Look for an email coming out Wednesday morning when we open up limited registration. We look forward to making all our Members successful gardeners.