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The Growing Challenge: Question – Why Are You Growing Food?

The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition:  From Seed To Seed


So far there are 88 participants signed up for The Growing Challenge: From Seed To Seed. I want to welcome all who are new to the challenge, and all new readers in general (there have been a lot lately!).  If you haven’t already, please join us in taking a new step toward sustainability by growing your own food from seed to seed!  


If you’re not ready to save seeds yet, you can start with the basic Growing Challenge – or try the Buy Sustainably Challenge or Green Your Insides Challenge.  Lots to choose from – or choose all of the above!


New participants are in orange at the bottom. I encourage us all to visit, support, and learn from one another.

 

  1. Jules, The Garden of Plenty, Melbourne, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  2. Jena, Married To The Farm, Caro, Michigan – zone 5
  3. Amanda, You Reap What You Sow, South Central Pennsylvania – zone 6-7
  4. Jen, Toward Arcadia, Michigan – zone 5-6
  5. Deb G, Bee Creative, Pacific Northwest – zone 7
  6. Greeen Sheeep, Wisconsin – zone 4
  7. Kory, Kicking And Screaming, Central New York – zone 5
  8. Abbie, Farmer’s Daughter, Connecticut – zone 6-7
  9. Margaret, Margaret’s Ramblings, Nottingham, England – zone 8
  10. SusanB, Southern New Jersey – zone 6b-7
  11. Karin, Fleecenik Farm, Central Maine – zone 4
  12. Kelsie, Hobbit’s Feat, Kentucky – zone 7
  13. Monica, Northern Ohio – zone 5-6
  14. Jen, Aaron-N-Jen: Living Life Simply, Iowa – zone 5
  15. Di, Path To Greendom & World of Yardcraft, Southern California – zone 10
  16. TomB, My Simple Home Garden, Central Massachusetts – zone 5b
  17. Judy, My Freezer Is Full, East Central Iowa – zone 5a
  18. Julie, Towards Sustainability, Newcastle, NSW, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  19. Dina, Hip Chick Chronicles, Portland, Oregon – zone 8-9
  20. Alana
  21. Milkweed, Milkweed Diaries, Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina – zone 6-7
  22. Melanie J, Ember’s Lighthouse, Jacksonville, Florida – zone 9a
  23. Risa B, Stony Run Farm, Western Oregon – zone 8
  24. Maureen, Fotos By Meg, Central Valley, California – zone 9
  25. Amy Crump, Crump Family Blog, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – zone 8
  26. Rob, Rob’s World, Burien, Washington – zone 8
  27. The Rachface, This Evolutionary Life, Virginia – zone 8
  28. Janice, Going Off Da Grid Janice, California – zone 8-9
  29. Green Bean, Green Phone Booth, Bay Area, California – zone 9
  30. Daphne, Daphne’s Dandelions, Winchester, Massachusetts – zone 6
  31. Briel
  32. Jimmy Cracked-Corn – zone 5
  33. Lisa, Domestic Accident, Southern Coastal Maine – zone 5-6
  34. Hannah, The Purloined Letter, Takoma Park, Maryland – zone 7
  35. Suzan, Scrub Oak, Rocky Mountain southern foothills (6,700 feet) – zone 4
  36. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener
  37. Onemotherslove, What’s He Up To Now?, North Central Texas – zone 8
  38. Red Icculus, Red-Icculus.com – zone 5
  39. Jocele, Knitting On Call, Idaho – zone 6-7
  40. Matt, Florida – zone 9
  41. Sara, Mama Craft, Canada – zone 3a
  42. Tyra, Tyra’s Garden & The Greenhouse In Tyra’s Garden, Vaxholm, Sweden – zone 6
  43. Inadvertentfarmer, The Inadvertent Farmer, Western Washington – zone 8
  44. Lauren
  45. Melody, Merrie Melody, Utah – zone 6
  46. Melinda, One Green Generation, Seattle, Washington – zone 8
  47. Michelle, Alpaca, Chook, Garden, Travel and…., Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  48. Laurel, Nefaeria, North Bay, Ontario, Canada – zone 4a
  49. Mary, Freedom Gardens Journal: Mecar, Crete, Illinois – zone 5
  50. Susan, How Green In My Garden, Southern California – zone 8b
  51. Mary, Cat’s Fiber Adventures, Oregon – zone 8-9
  52. WIlla, Plants And Animals & Yumminess Ensues, S. Central Pennsylvania – zone 6A
  53. Jenn, Attempted Simple Life, Osgoode, Ontario, Canada – zone 5a
  54. Shibaguyz, Here we go! Life with the Shibaguyz…, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  55. Tina, Bee Content Ranch, California
  56. Cassandra, The Urban Trowel, Southeastern BC, Canada – zone 5
  57. Nico, Self Sufficient Life, North Germany – zone 8
  58. Sadge, Firesign Farm, Carson City, Nevada – zone 6
  59. Leanne, At The Good Life, New Zealand - zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  60. Jenny, Studio J
  61. Sarah S, Life At The Ranch, Northern California – zone 9
  62. Sarah Z, Ward Road Garden, Northern California – zone 9
  63. Christy O, Farm Dreams, Georgia – zone 7
  64. Jason L, Vegetable Garden Planner
  65. Annette, Ward House, Hot Springs, Virginia – zone 6
  66. Paige, Clausen In The Hausen & Out In The Garden, Saint Peters, Missouri – zone 5
  67. Rhonda, FarmHouse Style, North Georgia Mountains – zone 7b
  68. Kelly, Taurus Rising, Adelaide Hills, Australia- zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  69. Laura, Mas Du Diable, France – zone 9
  70. Christina, A Thinking Stomach, Altadena, California – zone 9b
  71. Latigoliz, Cowgirl Up, Enumclaw, Washington – zone 8
  72. Lisa, Natural Gardening, Upstate South Carolina – zone 8
  73. Chris, Chattagarden, Chattanooga, Tennessee – zone 7
  74. Mary B, Tampa, Florida – zone 10
  75. Kathy, Birmingham, Alabama – zone 7-8
  76. Kathy and Skippy, Skippy’s Vegetable Garden – zone 6
  77. Katrien, MamaStories, suburb of Boston, Massachusetts – zone 6-7
  78. Maggie, Mama What The, (Maggie what zone are you in?)
  79. Christa, Lazy Toad Farm, New Hampshire – zone 4-5
  80. Emma, The Berry Patch, Sydney, Australia – zone 10 (Aust. 4)
  81. Jenny, Seeded, Toledo, Ohio – zone 6
  82. Melissa, Rabbit Hill Farm, rural North Carolina – zone 7-8
  83. Jessie Earth Momma, Pacific Northwest – zone 7b
  84. Catherine, Love Living Simply, Texas – zone 8
  85. Ian, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – zone 6b
  86. Christy, Growing Human, Coastal Virginia – zone 7b
  87. Amanda, A Homegrown Life, California – zone 9
  88. Robbie, Going Green Mama – zone 5


I’ve added everyone’s name, blog, location, and hardiness zone. Please check your info to make sure I have it right.

 

Why Are You Growing Food?


I’m curious, and I think it might be helpful to others: how and why you decide to grow from seed to seed this year?  Are you growing food for the first time?  Are you feeling more of an economic crunch, or want to take the next step in living a simple/sustainable life?  Are you doing it for the joy of slowing down?  Why, why, why?


And secondly, are you noticing a shift in your neighborhood to a greater interest in growing food?  I feel like more people are looking for gardening classes, I see online seed stores are really going through their inventories, and in general a lot more information about gardening.  Do you see this, too?


Please feel free to chime in whether or not you are officially taking part in The Growing Challenges. 


Leave links to your gardening posts, too, if you like. Chat away!


Similar Posts:

44 comments to The Growing Challenge: Question – Why Are You Growing Food?

  • Rob

    I suppose I enjoy growing my own food because I just love the ridicule and abuse I get for not being able to grow broccoli! But really I do it more as a hobby, gets me outside and slows me down. That and the fact I like to know where my food came from. Besides growing food is in my genes, being the son of North Dakotan Farm Folk who came west for more opurtunity. To qoute Ouiser from Steel magnolias-
    “I am a old southern womman and we were funny hats and dig in the dirt and grow vegetables. I don’t know why – I didn’t make the rules”

  • I do it right now because I want to rather than need to. It is practice really for a time when I might need to. It is better to know how to grow food than not is my view.

    That said, there are other benefits I couldn’t give up now. Food is safer when it comes from my yard than from the store. It is also way more convenient for both planning and bringing home food. I mean, it is 25 feet from the door! Canning, dehydrating and other preservation means I can still eat healthy and safe food all winter. I also eat healthier I think.

    And on top of all of that: The kids LIKE vegetables far better now. A sweet pea straight from the garden is like candy for them and they would sit and weep over eating peas before. That is reason enough right there. :)

    As for change, I field a lot more questions that are a lot more detailed this year. I don’t see any other gardens yet here because this neighborhood tends to be filled with busy professionals who remain prosperous, but they are asking questions so I expect to see more.

  • I grow for a variety of reasons. Partly because I enjoy it and have had a garden for as long as I can remember (starting as a child on the farm), partly because of the desire to know where my food is coming from and that it’s safe. We are ramping up production this year due to the economic times, especially since my husband was laid off his job. Previously I canned tomatoes and salsa and froze a few things, but mostly we grew only enough to eat fresh. This year we are growing for storage and aim to have 50% of our food grown either by ourselves or locally. I’ve got the skills to grow and store my own, I may as well use them.
    Oh, and 10 of my broccoli seedlings are up this morning! Excitement!

  • We moved to the country a few years ago to homestead. It just seems like it is a lifestyle that is all about food.

    Winters are long in Maine ( 28 inches of snow the other day) Gardening is what sustains me through the winter. It is the promise of fresh food, sunshine, dirt, the heat of the canner and the pantry of colorful jars of food that create a rhythm to this lifestyle we’ve chosen.

    I noticed many more gardens last year in my neck of the woods. Folks were worried about heating costs and knew that growing and putting by food would save them money later in the year.

  • I love going to the Farmer’s Market…and still will since I have a very small garden and no cows or chicks in the back yard…but thought it’d be nice to show my children how vegetables and fruit grows and that it doesn’t just appear at the market. My children are 3.5 and 2. My hopes are that they won’t remember when we didn’t get our vegetables from our garden.

  • My garden started out as a challenge – I was challenging myself to try things that I didn’t think I could do. It has proven to be calming and fulfilling in ways I never imagined. We have already expanded for spring planting and I hope to someday feed myself almost entirely out of the back yard.

  • Why, Why, Why? Good questions. I choose the seed-to-seed challenge bcz I like to hang out with like minded individuals plus I get to place a cool widget on my blog and hopefully spark some thought in those that visit. =)
    This is our third year for a garden and this will be the largest garden, encompassing most of the back yard and including the side yard. I want to include more berries and fruiting trees and hope to plant those soon. We decided to have a garden to help protect the food supply, be able feed ourselves, and live more simply. Economic crunch definately has a part to play. Last year we helped to feed the neighbor as well.
    I have seen more gardens this year, or heard people talk about having a garden. Not so much in my neighborhood – I like to think that we will help to set the example. I may even ask the neighbor if we can grow some food in their yard as well (they work alot and are rarely home). *shrugs* We will see. =)
    Thank you for organizing this challenge!

  • I’m another one of those people who grew up in the garden. I’ve even saved flower seeds since I had my own childhood plot (marigolds, calendula, pansies, poppies, sweet peas are all super easy). I’m sure there is a mix of role modeling from my family and genetics at play. My grandparents grew enough vegetables to sell at their small grocery store, and later to other small grocery stores, restaurants, and their local farmer’s market. My grandfather saved seeds. There has always been food growing around me. I love gardening and can’t imagine not growing something. Specifically to food, I love the feeling that I get when I eat something that I’ve grown from seed. I want to take it one step further, to this is so cool that I can grow something from one year to the next, from my own seed.

    In today’s world I think gardening/saving seed is the smart thing to do too. I want to make sure that I have seed that is not a GMO, that doesn’t support practices I don’t believe in. I want to make my garden more cost effective by not having to buy as much seed. I also feel like I have an ethical responsibility to provide some of my own food.

    I haven’t noticed a whole lot of increasing in gardening in my corner of the world, but to be honest, we’re already a pretty garden intensive area.

  • When I first started it was a panic reflex. “Oh gawd its the apocalypse, I have to start learning how to do this stuff before it gets really bad!”

    Having been given the time to take a deep breath and reflect…

    I have undergone a shift of priorities I hope to pass on to my children, I’ve learned that by going back to essentials, you remember whats really important. By literally tasting the fruit of your labors, you remember that there can be a direct link between work and reward, that not all effort is and endless chase inflate someone else’s bottom line.

    But most importantly, I’ve learned that I DO have a choice.

    As for the seed to seed aspect, I’ve got a small plot, and for some things I may not be able to save enough seed, but I will do what I can for the sake of maintaining some semblance of control and independence from hideous monstrosities like Monsanto. Life is not intellectual property, it belongs to itself and the world.

  • This will be my first year this year. I want to know where my food has been grown and live more sustainably. I am currently reading Square Foot Gardening and making plans. We will see how it goes, I don’t know a lot about gardening, but am willing to try. I hope it doesn’t turn out like my houseplants…dead, all of them :)

  • For us – we love it! My husband was born on a truck farm in Ohio (kind of like a produce farm – grow lots of different things specifically for local grocery markets); my Dad was born on a farm in Mississippi. I grew up gardening. My maternal Grandmother was born in 1912 – lived “in town” on an acre plot – where they grew pretty much everything. So growing up growing a certain percentage of your own food was just what we did.

    Now – as a “grown up” – I want my own children to know how to grow things, of course! But we also have to be VERY careful about food – I have a huge list of food allergies and sensitivities, my husband has some, as well. That means our poor son got dumped on big time – and has HUGE allergy and asthma issues. We find that if we grow our own and preserve as much as we can, things are happier all the way around!

    And yes – more and more of our neighbors are taking growing a garden very seriously. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been stopped recently to inquire as to how one of them could get started. One friend is committed to replacing her suburban front yard with an organic garden. She’s not the only one, of course – but the vigor with which she’s proceeding is admirable!

  • I can’t come up with a simple answer, but mostly because gardening and saving seeds weaves me into the fabric of my farm’s life and ensures my connections to people long gone from my life.

  • I’ve been vegetable gardening for 20 years, ever since I had any land to do it. When I lived in a condo, I drove myself crazy with desire for a plot (at the time I hadn’t a clue that there were such things as community gardens). My mother had a garden that I called a small farm. She canned and root cellered. To me it is just natural, like breathing. I don’t understand my friends that aren’t driven to play in the dirt. I revel in the cycles of nature and get all excited when my little seeds germinate. This morning it was my lettuce seed coming up. So I garden because it makes me happy on a very elemental level.

    The seed to seed challenge is an extension of that. I have collected seed in the past, but not much. It is something I’ve been meaning to learn about more. I’ve always been an adamant believer in seed diversity. I love to buy weird varieties of beans to cook with, because if more people buy the unusual, then the genetic diversity will never be lost, but of course if we actually grow it ourselves and save the seed you get the same result.

    I like that composting is good for the environment, but I do it primarily for my plants. I like the growing my own food reduces my food miles, but I really do it for the love of it. I garden naturally because I eat my food and don’t want to be poisoned. When my kids lived with us I was happy with this style because they could pull up a carrot or onion from the soil and eat it straight from the garden and I wouldn’t have to worry. And my daughter used to pull those onions out from the garden and eat them like apples. The thought of straight raw onion makes me cringe, but she seemed to love it.

  • [...] of One Green Generation, asked some great questions in today’s post about why I choose to participate in the Seed-to-seed challenge.  I posted a quick little answer [...]

  • This is year three for me and I guess I started for a lot of reasons. For as long as I can remember my grandparents have tended gardens: Nanny grows flowers and herbs and Pappy grows fruits and vegetables. Made a big impression on me and it’s always something I wanted to model for my kids, too. Then I became really excited about the quality of homegrown, local versus supermarket produce. And then I became aware of problems in the food system, everything from the loss of local farms and community to the polluted environment. And then I decided it sucked not to know how to do things like grow your own food. And then… It became more a question of why not than of why at a certain point. My biggest why not was worrying I would get in trouble with the neighbors but I overcame that.

    The coolest part about growing this garden in my front yard (even cooler than teaching the kids how to plant and pick, or enjoying the taste of homegrown) is something I really didn’t expect. One of my neighbors carved out a little garden in her backyard and told me I inspired her to do it. How cool is that!? I went from being scared the neighbors would complain (I used to garden in the wee hours when fewer people would catch me) to proudly heading out mid-afternoon as veggie ambassador to the neighborhood. I love, love it when someone asks what I’m growing.

  • I’ll be answering this question on my blog http://palocalvore.blogspot.com Thanks for asking- it’s a good question.

  • We do have sunchokes, elephant garlic, and rhubarb from year to year from which we can give to others, but haven’t been systematic seed savers for years, due to not being home much. But we were able to save some Brandywine tomato seeds for last summer, which fed us a middling crop (tomatoes were tough all over in our area last year).

    Potatoes are working out as well. We have Yukons and Reds and as we plant out a few at a time this year, we divvy up many of the spuds between the eye-side (for planting, eyes up, after chitting) and the non-eye side (for eating). Handy.

    The star of our show has been runner beans. Ours were a handful given to us ten years ago and we’ve saved them to the point where we can a) cook up about four crockpot meals of them this year, with leftovers, so that’s eight dinners for two (yum! They’re GREAT) and plenty to replant and keep hopefully doubling production, as well as some to give away.

    The giving away has been really gratifying. The recipients look at them, and you cab hear the wheels turning in their heads. Even if they have no garden ground to speak of, when I tell them these can be container grown and are partially shade tolerant — “aha! even I can do these” — it makes a difference. Gardens are popping up all over.

    We are doing the same with two varieties of French beans, and this year hope to start collecting sugar snap peas the same way.

    These are easy projects, as seed saving goes, but we’re both still working full time plus, so you see how that is! At least our jobs aren’t gone yet, which has happened to friends of ours already.

  • Di

    For me last year was the first year I had a veggie garden in the US and the first year I saved seeds. After the health scares in tomatoes and spinach, the GM crops I decided that I needed to protect myself and my family so I grow my own. Saving seeds is protecting our urban homestead, providing security for upcoming years, and most importantly it’s FUN! Seriously loved saving my own tomato seeds, poppy seeds, marigold, zinnia and basil seeds. This year I plan on saving as much as I can.

  • I want to learn to live more sustainably, and it’s so basic to start with growing something from seed and then saving said seed. The tricky parts include tending it properly, expanding the sustainability to other areas of my life, and not letting the apartment-based, suburban/urban simplicities continue to control my decisions. My small porch and plant-eating cat make the task hard, but I’m determined.

  • “Why? is no why … must DO.” Apologies to Yoda … I have gardened vegs and fruit trees since 1968 … can’t fathom anyone who doesn’t …

  • When we grow our own we can afford a bigger variety, including herbs, which are expensive to buy here (and usually disappointing). If I bought all our food all the time we’d be living on potatoes, carrots and frozen peas. I love that because we have a garden we can give our son other stuff too, like broad beans and snow peas and unusual varieties of the common veggies.

  • I have to have the connection, I suppose. I work most days indoors and coming home to my garden just seems the best thing to do. Wouldn’t be sad to live in a world where everyone forgot how to grow things?

  • I’m doing this because I like to create things but I have no artistic ability. So basically I do the technical bits (planting the seeds and watering, etc.) and God does the artistic stuff designs the leaves and fruit and where they will bloom). I grow vegetables because I like that once they are grown I can do something with them other than just toss them aside.

  • I’ve always grown a little something, but since changing my diet and quitting my job to be a stay at home mom, I gotta do something to afford to eat around here!

  • 7b! I’m in 7b!
    This will be our first real garden. We want to grow so that we can have yummy food from our own labor.

  • I grow my own food and save the seeds to grow it again because I care about edible plant diversity. We are in danger of allowing corporations to patent and own the seeds of all our food and I don’t want to let that happen so I grow as many open-pollinated varieties as I can save the seeds and pass them on.

    I am also fussy about what I eat and even here in France vegetables are not as fresh as I’d like them nor is there enough variety for my taste so I grow whatever I want to eat.

    It is also a question of economics we have a tiny income and need to grow our own food if we want to eat well.

  • So many reasons why we are trying our hand at growing food… I think mostly because we can… or we hope we can. It is rather cool to eat something you have grown. It’s also for our children… to have a connection and understanding of their food and how it relates to the world. But at the moment probably the biggest motivator is because we want to eat good food. We can’t afford to buy organic fruit and vege right now, plus it is not easy to source good produce here…. so we grow it… and know that it is good food not laced with any extra nasties…

  • monica

    Gardening is going to help us stay in our house a little longer. We are making our house work for us. We hope to continue even after the economy improves.

    I saved seeds from our peas, beans, and a bought squash that was filled with seeds. We are going to start planting a few weeks earlier than previous years. I found a link to a site. Somebody with computer savy can figure out the hyperlink–mine never work.
    http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm
    It starts with a map from 1990, but morphs into a 2006. I am now in a zone 6!

  • I had a garden for several years at my old house, but this is the first year to formally put one in my new one. (For the record, I have 2 kids under the age of 4, so I guess I get a pass?)

    My oldest loves to grow tomatoes in the pot and is quick to eat her strawberries that I have scattered among the flowers.

    Basically, it’s a joy.

  • I grow because I can’t remember a time when I DIDN’T grow something. My mother gave me my own little patch of dirt when I was about 2. One of my first memories is her showing me how to plant the marigold and zinnia seeds we picked out together. When I was around 12, I became absolutely fascinated with magical herbalism, and I honestly could not tell you why. I begged my mother to let me plant a “culinary” herb garden (though I made sure all of those culinary plants had appropriately magical uses/folklore behind them). She gave me the shovel and pointed to a corner of the yard outside the kitchen window. I was hooked–hooked on the feeling of the dirt between my toes, hooked on the sweat, and most of all, hooked on the simple joy I felt every time I stepped out into the herb garden and inhaled the unbelievable scent of lemon balm or snipped a sprig of sage to add to the chicken roasting in the oven. I won over my mother with this garden–beforehand, she had been a rosarian through and through–and she maintained the herb garden when I went away for college. My parents sold that house awhile ago, but my mother had me plan a FRONT YARD herb garden for her last spring, and she’s going to do tomatoes and peppers this year, as well. But that’s my mother! I grow food and herbs because I look at a plot of grass and all I can think is, “abundance” and “magic.” I’m still endlessly amazed that something as tiny and nondescript as a seed can produce so much food and medicine and PLEASURE. I garden because it keeps me alive. I garden because it honors the earth and those who came before me. I garden because I can’t NOT garden.

    And now I really wish February would make her exit and bring on March, which takes us very much closer to planting time. :)

  • Oooh, can I get in on this challenge? I’m in Zone 6-ish-7ish. We’re doing everything by seed this year, except our potatoes. This is the first year the garden is a serious thing for us, and not a hobby for me. Usually my garden (on a deck of our townhouse) is a plaything, but this year, we’re moving into a bigger house with a bigger yard, and the garden is f’real. We’re doing it because we’ll have two mortgages and our grocery budget has been cut in half, and we hope to make up the shortfall with our veggies. Also, we’re trying to eat more local, and it doesn’t get any more local than the back yard. And finally, I love gardening, though I haven’t really seen it through as seriously as I will be this year. It just feels so good to put my hands in dirt and then to have something alive to show for my efforts. We’re growing the standard veggies, lettuce and peas and carrots and beets and a lot more, but we’re also growing flowers (I’m determined to have fresh-cut flowers regularly in my home this summer) and luffa for sponges, too. We may not save the seeds for everything, but will definitely be saving our tomato seeds, squash, cucumbers, peppers, melons, and luffa. Basically, the easy-to-get seeds, we’ll definitely be saving. And I may let some of my lettuces bolt, too.

  • I grow veggies and fruits for many reasons:
    1) I love eating, and eating good food makes me happy. Homegrown is definitely good eating.
    2) Nearly every ancestor on both sides of my family has been a farmer. It is so deeply ingrained in my blood, I don’t know how not to grow food.
    3) Plants often make more sense to me than people do, not always, but often.
    4) I believe in maintaining the genetic heritage of many endangered varieties, so growing heirloom food and saving seeds helps me be a part of keeping history alive.
    5) It’s darned fun.
    6) Did I mention I love to eat?

    Also, where I am in Altadena is definitely 9b.

    Thanks for starting this conversation.

  • [...] you for your wonderful gardening answers – wow! Did it inspire anyone new to garden, because it should -those are amazing words! Loved, [...]

  • Kris

    I love gardening! The sun on my back, gentle breezes blowing, and usually I’m sweating buckets in the hot Nebraska summers! I get so much satisfaction and gratification from growing our own food. By growing our own food I know where it is coming from and it teaches my kids that they are able to provide for themselves. There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe tomato, a bowl of sliced cucumbers with a little onion and vinegar, or fresh zuchinni and eggplant slices grilled to perfection. I’m hungry now!

  • I’ve gardened in one aspect or another for years (it makes me feel OLD to say how many these days, so let’s just say “quite a few”). I started out by falling in love with the fabulous scents of the little pots of herbs at the grocery store one day. I bought more than I could afford and promptly turned my apt. balcony into a rather crazy looking container garden. Those little pots of herbs brought back memories of my grandparents’ gardens and picking bushel baskets of black-eyed peas and other things as a child, and the garden mania began.
    Growing food crops came after I married and had a little yard to plant a garden in. I started with plants from the garden center, and moved on to ordering seeds. Who could resist all those descriptions and color photos in the seed catalogs? Now, I grow mostly from seed in order to grow organic, heirloom varieties.

    Last Fall, a small group that meets in our home jumped on my idea of starting a “community garden” together. We planted a fall garden in my yard and had all the brocolli, cauliflower, spinach, mustard, chard, carrots, and lettuce that we could eat. One member of our group has an unused lot that is now in the process of being prepared for growing, as well. He’s let the neighbors know what we’re up to, and they have been really excited about the garden. We’ve even had a couple of people volunteer to come and do some work with their tractor for us. Another person donated hay for mulch, and a couple of people have purchased fruit trees for the small “orchard” at the back of the property. People really do seem more interested in growing food and gardening these days.

  • Frank

    Our daughter is the gardener. I can think of a number of reasons for planting yur own fruit and vegetables. First, your’s are the freshest, most delectable carrots, peas, broccoli, etc, that you can get. Second, you can regulate your garden so that it receives the lowest possible dose of chemical amendments, and this will lead to reason three, a decrease in contaminants that polute our lakes, bays and rivers. Fourth, and like the third advantage this will have more impact if a critical mass of gardeners pant, harvest and replant using their own seads, this will decrease the miles that you put your car driving to the grocery store and the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted by your car, and mine, etc. Finally panting a garden and watching it grow should not be a solitary activity; rather it should bring us together as “tillers of the soil.” As the fathers’ sing in “The Fantastics,” “The man who plants a garden is a very happy man …”

    Frank

  • I guess I grow some of my own food because I grew up on a farm. Actually, I lived there for the first 26 years of my life, even staying home to commute to college, and having my husband move on to the farm with us for about 5 years. It’s in my blood, and I had a really hard time moving OFF the farm, even though we’re right down the street. I wish I could raise animals here, tap trees for maple syrup, make cider, and do all the things that my family does. I truly truly miss it, and we wanted to buy a farm. However, the real estate in CT is not conducive to young people getting a large amount of land.

    Gardening at home is my way of reconnecting with the lifestyle that I miss so much. I’m also planning to get a few chickens this summer, so I think that will help, too.

    The short answer: I’m happy when I’m in the garden. It makes my house feel like home.

  • I absolutely loved reading all of the responses so far! I’m gardening and saving seeds for many of the reasons that the rest of you are. I’m fascinated by plants, animals, soil and ecosystems in general, and I love being outdoors working with the soil, getting dirty and getting exercise.
    As I really think about it, there are many other reasons that I garden, though. I feel a connection to my farmer grandparents and extended family, a connection to all people who have ever worked the earth, and a connection to the earth itself. I know where my vegetables are coming from, they are better than any I could buy, and they’re healthier. And by saving seeds of open-pollinated varieties, I’m doing my part to preserve diversity of food crops.

  • I grow my own food because it taste better, is better for me, and I enjoy gardening and watching things grow.

  • I grow food because… I moved onto an organic farm two years ago to teach myself to eat vegetables. Was raised with very little fresh food, knew it was unhealthy. The farm runs Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, so seed saving was the business!

    I love to do things myself – feel the dirt in my toes, know that I don’t need to rely on others to do things for me. Homesteading seems like the natural progression.

    I’m living in northern Missouri where I’ll be growing all but my bulk foods, saving seeds, and building a home in the spring. I’m behind my time – hunter/gatherer lifestyle pulls me back and makes me want to live as far away from civilization as I can. It just makes sense!

  • Fresh vegetables just taste so much better than their truck ripened cousins you’ll find in the stores and they are a lot healthier too. There’s nothing like a meal, prepared with ingredients that where still hanging on the vine 30 minutes ago and knowing exactly what’s in them.

    I also enjoy seeing things grow and teaching my kids about nature.

  • Mary, me too – isn’t it fabulous? Thanks for sharing everyone!

    I love Abbie’s comment: “I’m happy when I’m in the garden. It makes my house feel like home.” Christina, I lived in Altadena for 2 years! That’s where I started growing vegetables in my garden. : ) Pamela & Jessie Earth Momma, I will add you on the next roundup list. Consider yourself joined! Monica, that map is great, isn’t it? Scary, too, to see how climate change is already affecting zones. Judy, Congratulations! Kory, That was one of our reasons for starting too, and now it has become quite different in my mind! Throwback, what a beautiful reason.

    I am so enjoying all your wonderful words!

  • [...] you for your great responses to our last check-in – wow!  Truly inspiring, you [...]

  • Xan

    I can’t go out into my yard without my brain filling with goodness. Looking at the garden is as good as eating a chocolate bar. I started it because I had this big yard and I thought it would be cool to garden with my kids. They’re grown up and gone, and I am hooked on gardening.

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