Why aren’t you growing the best food ever? Everybody’s doing it. Start a veggie garden to grow your best tomato ever!
I don’t need to bore you with the nutrient profile differences between fresh produce picked at the peak of ripeness and eaten within 30 minutes and produce that has been sitting around for a week or more after it was picked prematurely. There is plenty of published evidence showing how much healthier fresh produce is than produce that is past its prime. I know you are probably already supporting local farmers at Farmers’ Markets and by doing this you can be assured that your produce is pretty darn fresh, local, and in season. But, you CANNOT buy the freshness and ripeness that comes with growing your own veggies right in your own backyard (or front yard if you want to get really creative!).
I started growing my own food about six years ago. I started with a few containers of tomatoes, peppers, and basil. I didn’t even want to do this but my wife (girlfriend at the time) didn’t really give me the choice. It was what she was used to. She always had a garden growing up. We were living in our first apartment together and it was our time to have a garden…it was just going to be in a few pots to start.
I stuck with it. I watered the containers. And I watered the containers. I watched the plants grow. I patiently tied the vining tomato stems to our railing. I watched the little tiny green tomatoes develop into monsters. I learned that tomatoes (at least the varieties we were growing) turn from green to red and soften when they are ripe. After a couple of months, I came home from work and noticed that very first tomato that looked like it was ready. I checked. It was red all around. I felt it. It was slightly soft. I gently tugged and twisted and it dropped into my hand. I grinned ever so slightly to myself and ran up the steps like a little kid looking to share my prized possession.
I can absolutely guarantee you that even if you think you have a black thumb, even if you have never grown anything before, even if you only get one single tomato…that tomato is going to be the best tomato you have ever eaten. This is why. You have raised this tomato from a small seedling. Maybe you even started the seeds. You have watered this tomato plant for the last 2 months. You have not sprayed any pesticides on this tomato. Maybe you have even applied a healthy dose of fish emulsion from time to time. You have encouraged this little tomato from the time the flowers developed to when the fruit just formed to the time when you finally twisted it off the vine eagerly awaiting it’s preparation into a tasty bruschetta, or thickly sliced onto a mouthwatering sandwich.
I use the tomato as an example because it is easy to relate to. The truth is, the same can be said for nearly any vegetable, fruit or herb. Now I equally look forward to the very first spring green harvest of dandelions, sorrel, and good King Henry, to the very first strawberry in late spring and to the very first tomato in July.
If you have ever thought, hmm…I’d like to have a garden, then I strongly encourage you to go for it (if you need help and you’re local to Reading, PA check out our Raised Garden Bed Services). Plants want to grow; it’s what they do best. If you give your veggie plants the right amount of sunlight, a little water from time to time, and perhaps a little compost or organic fertilizer, your plants will love you and reward you with fruits of their labor. If things start to not look so good, there is no shortage of information available on the internet, in your local library, or even from the crazy neighbor down the street, to help you on your journey towards to your best tasting tomato ever.
Jordan Scroble is the co-creator of Grow Your Own Freedom (growyourownfreedom.com) a sustainable living business focused on encouraging others to care about what they put in and on their body through helping people grow food in their backyards, creating a line of herbal body care products and presenting educational workshops. He started this business with his wife, Danielle Nuhfer. They work to create services, connections and educational opportunities within their local area to help people become more aware of the importance of growing what you can, knowing what you buy, going back to basics and discovering nature’s goodness.