What's in Your Garden?

When you go through your list of reasons why it's great to be a home owner, here's one you probably didn't think of.  You can have your own garden.

Now, if you are thinking "What's the big deal about that?", then stay with me as I wind my way merrily through the many reasons why having a garden is a wonderful thing.

1. Healthy, Non-Poisonous food!   The bottom line is this: if you didn't grow it yourself, you really don't know what's in it or on it.  Just think of how many salmonella cases we've heard about recently.  In your own garden, you have the choice to be pesticide free.  In addition, you can grow food that is not genetically modified. (I'll talk a little more about this later).

2. Environmental responsibility.  By amending your garden soil with compost from your own compost bin, you prevent fertilizer run-off.  I know one little garden doesn't make much of a dent in the water contamination created by massive commercial farming operations, but every little bit helps. I always feel like I can't complain about something if I'm guilty of contributing to the problem.   Speaking of commercial farming operations, by planting heirloom seeds you are fighting back against those GMO crops I mentioned above.  Individuals must work to preserve heirloom crops, or eventually we could live in a world where we are held hostage by large corporations who produce seeds that don't reproduce.  What the heck does that mean?  It means, next year you have to go buy new seeds from that company because the ones you saved from last year are genetically modified to be good for only 1 generation.   Very clever, no?  Lastly on the environmental issue, something so important that it gets it's own number.

3. Helping Honey Bees.  In the past week an article came out that said 30% of the American Honey Bee population was lost over the past winter.  This is hugely important because those little bees pollinate our crops.  Einstein once pointed out that without Honey Bees, we don't have food.  Scientists are at a loss to explain the phenomenon know as Colony Collapse. The bees are dying and we don't know why. I'm including a link to the recent article and if you care to know, it explains some of the theories as to what it killing the little guys.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/02/food-fear-mystery-beehives-collapse

One of the potential causes mention in the article above is, you guessed it, those pesky GMO crops.  By growing heirloom vegetables, you give the bees something to eat that hasn't been tampered with.  Don't spray your garden with pesticides, and you do yourself and the bees a favor.  I tend to favor the idea that GMO crops and pesticides are responsible for this.  All the other things mentioned in the article have been around for a long time. The GMO crops and pesticides are fairly new inventions, and coincide with colony collapse. (Just think, if it's killing the bees, what's it doing for us?)

4. Self Sufficiency.   Aside from the fact that most of the food in your local grocery store is "faux food", I think it's also important to point out that those shelves have to be restocked every 3 days.  So, in an emergency those shelves can become empty in a hurry.  I can't help but think that it would be nice to have SOME food in the backyard at least!  Of course, I'm a born and raised southern gal, so I grew up with an appreciation for home grown food.  *grin*

5. Social Responsibility.  As citizens of humanity, we have a responsibility to ensure that the next generation can feed themselves.  As we head into a new century where giant corporations are creating seeds that are only good for one generation, we must strive to preserve the plants from the past.  I think we have a right to grow our own food, and not be obligated to obtain the means from some company. If we fail to stop the take-over of GMO crops, we have essentially sold the next generation into slavery.

Whew!  That was some heavy stuff for a little blog article on gardening, huh?  I feel a little guilty for dumping all that on you, so I'll sum it up with something lighter:

Gardening is a great way to relax and let off some steam!  There's something about working with the soil that reminds you of what's real, and helps keep you in touch with mother nature.

Happy Gardening Y'all!

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