Tales Of A Troubled Gardener

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer’s Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they’ve learned about their local farmers.

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The topic of this months carnival has been playing on my mind recently. Lately, I have found myself researching and learning more about nutrition, watching documentaries such as “Food Matters” and “Forks Over Knives” online. The reoccurring theme, is to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy – which I think people are (slowly) becoming more aware of these days. But the big point that stuck out to me, was that when we buy our fruit and veg at the supermarket, it has generally travelled from halfway across the globe and is usually a week or so old by the time it reaches our plate. This means that the nutrients in our fruit and vegetables have spent 6 or 7 days seeping away, so we are getting a product that is nowhere near its peak.


In an ideal situation, I want to be picking my own vegetables and preparing them to eat minutes later. I would then be certain that they are organic, local, ethical and package free. But while I’ve looked in to sprouting, and think that it could be a possible vegetable source for us, I know what a terrible gardener I am when it comes to anything more complicated. Right now I have 6 tomato plants that are all in various states of dead or dying around the kitchen and garden. I lovingly planted them and (occasionally) watered them, but not one tomato has sprouted. A few years back at our old home we had a couple of vegetable plots, and got lucky with the spinach and garlic. The potatoes were abundant although they were a bit of a strange texture, but we were proud none the less. But having our own vegetable patch was hard work, the bugs were faster than us as gobbling up anything tasty, and I didn’t feel that my green finger was quite in tune with the earth!

My lack of gardening skills, combined with our tiny, woodlice infested garden has at the very least postponed my dream of self sufficiency for the time being. So I’ve been left with my other option – investigating all the local farms. There are surprisingly few organic farms local to me, but there are a few companies that deliver fruit and vegetable boxes to your door, along with other organic produce. These look like a strong possibility, but the problem is the cost and of course the lack of choice. We have grown so used to having our favourite foods all year round, it will take a bit of getting used to to get back to seasonal eating habits. Since we have started to eat more raw foods we are getting through so much of the stuff that we really need to source it cheap. But it seems there is always a compromise to be made.

My compromise is to move somewhere sunny and tropical where gardening is a breeze and raw organic foods are plentiful! (Ah, one day…..)

In the mean time I will be giving the local delivery places a try and continuing to fantasise about enormous greenhouses and an endless supply of organic spinach!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14 thoughts on “Tales Of A Troubled Gardener”

  1. It is a difficult change to make, to eating more seasonally. Before I had kids I went to the extreme and only ate veggies and fruits that I had preserved when they were out of season. But the truth is that I want my child to have fresh fruit and veggies year round, so I’ve now learned to compromise: fresh and local when I can get it, and I’ll buy supermarket food in winter when I can’t get local.

    1. Abbie, you’re speaking to me with the preserved vs. winter buying. This is my first year working to freeze fruit we’ve got in bulk from Pick Your Own or from cases through the coop or from the farmers’ market. Even so, my heart cringes when I use strawberries I hoped to have in winter because it’s not strawberry season except for a few weeks. I look at all the fruit from out of the country and out of season at the coop. I guess we’ll just have to go bigger next year and hope for the best…
      sheila@alivingfamily.com

  2. I completely gave up on gardening this year and last – my luck is the same as yours, and I decided that supporting local farmers was more important than trying again. Maybe next year, but I haven’t been disappointed with my decision :)
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

  3. Gardening is HARD!! We’ve had a garden since we moved somewhere warm and sunny and it’s still hard! Watering, bugs, etc. We still rely on our farmer’s market and stores!

  4. The garden. Can anything inspire and disappoint in the same way? Yet again I started out with dreams, worked for weeks, planting, weeding, laying down salt hay, trellising beans and cucumbers over and over. This season was brutal. Hot 100 degrees for days and days and downpours for days. All this with a new baby on my back and a toddler in tow made for a lot of hard work with little results. Even so, I learn so much every year. I hear you on having only a slight green tinge on the thumb (and I love the way you put it: ” I didn’t feel that my green finger was quite in tune with the earth…”). I do feel, though, that it’s a brighter, greener thumb I’ve got each season. Let’s both keep at it and see how we grow along with out plants!

  5. Nice post! I too was inspired by those documentaries you mention. I was a vegetarian for awhile in fact, until I realized that it wasn’t eating meat that I was against, it was the way meat is generally produced in this country that I was rejecting. Now we buy our pastured meat directly from farms and farm collaboratives and I feel so good about it. We live in the city, and like you, have to rely on our friendly farmers to feed us well!

  6. I chuckled as I read this as I can SO RELATE. I excitedly planned our veggie garden this year and – well – my limited gardening skills are showing. We also live in a cold climate (Canada, eh?) with little access to organics, but there are those rare gems. Like the farms that don’t use GMO, pesticides or chemicals – but just aren’t certified organic. Or the organic grain mill. Or whatever. Stick with it and you’ll find them and learn how to work with them. Good luck!

  7. I’m lucky enough to have fresh home grown fruits and vegetables on my plate every day but it’s all thanks to my mother-in-law’s gardening! :) I’m not even able to grow a cactus, which you water like once a year :)

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