They Make It So Easy Now, There Is No Excuse
by James Glaser
January 17, 2012
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I have heard almost every excuse as to why people don't give growing a portion of their food a try. No time, no place, no idea of how to do it, and this one always gets me, I don't want to get my hands dirty.

The other day I was in the store, and so many things in the produce section were grown in foreign countries. I can't even imaging what kind of chemicals and how much of those chemicals were put on those fruits and vegetables when they were grown.

If you ever try growing broccoli, you will find it is hard to have perfect heads like the ones in the supermarket. Sure, you get one perfect one here or there, but not the picture perfect ones that are readily available in the store. However I am sure your home-grown, not picture perfect plants will taste better. When you grow your own food, you tend to not use chemicals, especially after you read the warning labels.

But back to how easy it is to grow your food now. When I was starting out, I would have to find some little pots and fill them with soil, then take a low-sided cookie sheet and set the pots on the cookie sheet. Then I had to figure some way to cover it with saran wrap and set it in a sunny window in the day time and then move it to some place warm at night.

Well, now you can buy these cool little seed-starting greenhouse kits for about three bucks. They have ten of these little pellets that expand when you add water to them, and then you put your seed in that pellet. It comes with a plastic tray and a clear plastic cover. What a great set-up that is. Along with the convenience of it all, you still have that cookie sheet available for cookie-baking.

Depending on where you live, you can either take the plant that has grown in that pellet and set the whole thing, (pellet and plant) in a bigger pot, or you can set it right in the ground. If you do all tomatoes, ten plants will give you enough to eat all you want, and you can freeze, can, or give away a bunch.

Even if all you have is a little deck on your apartment, you can grow enough lettuce and tomatoes, green peppers, and herbs to have a salad every day.

You should be warned though that after eating what you have grown yourself, you will want to grow more. You will be looking for bigger pots or you will start scratching a spot in the yard to start a garden in. Yes, it is addicting, but with all the benefits of healthful food, just wait until you see how wonderful it feels to give away something you have grown. You will soon find others who grow things you don't and then the trading can occur.

People will start introducing you as, "Here is Jim. You can't believe the tomatoes he grows." Or you will hear, "This is Sarah, and you should see her garden." These are much better intros that hearing yourself described as the guy with the orange truck or the accountant from the fifth floor (no offense to accountants intended).

Another advantage to growing some of the things you eat is that you will soon be trying to grow things you've never eaten before. There are hundreds of different varieties of lettuce, and the same is true for tomatoes. There are many kinds of beans, and maybe you don't eat many beans now, but you surely will if you grow them yourself.

Also, and this might be the best thing about growing your own food, kids love to garden. You have to admit it seems a bit like magic to put a seed in soil and watch as a little plant breaks through the soil, starts growing, and soon starts producing little flowers that then become a fruit or vegetable.

Time spent planting with your children or time spent planning this year's garden is precious, and your child will remember those times for the rest of their lives. I still remember planting tomatoes with my mom and how she taught me how to remove the suckers that would not produce and how to stake and tie up the plant.

I remember so well planting an apple tree with my dad and how he put some old chains in the hole to give the tree iron. I don't know if that really did any good, but we had a huge wonderful Macintosh apple tree in a few years.

Time spent tending to your plants is special. But one more thing will result if you start growing your own plants. Believe it or not, one day you will hear yourself talking, talking to the plants. Really, soon you will be talking to the plants. I don't know if they will be listening or not, but they always seem to hear you. You'll see.

Post Script:

Always writing about politics or war can wear you down. I think for a while I am just going to write about the things I am doing and the things I see here in North Florida. I believe it will be more rewarding and for a change, fun.

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