My greenhouse was working great, but I soon realized that I would never be able to compete with what nature offered for free: sunlight, water, soil; which brought me to the next logical step and an obvious but profound realization:
I don’t eat grass.
The greenhouse is the realm of the scientist in me. It’s the place to learn, experiment and make mistakes, but the garden is the realm of the farmer and a necessary part of growing your own food. I’ve always grown my own food, like most people, but never with the mindset of it replacing my supermarket. We like to grow herbs and maybe a couple of tomato plants, but why not rip up your ornamental front lawn and turn it into a vegetable garden? That’s what I did – after all, I don’t eat grass.
I tried to apply all that I learnt through my greenhouse, but I soon realized that this was a completely different ball game. Again, there were many learning curves and failed experiments, but I hope that I can make these mistakes so that you don’t have to. After about six months I had made some progress and was producing about half of all the vegetables that my family ate on a daily basis – and it tastes amazing – but I suppose that’s what it’s supposed to taste like.
Having a full on vegetable garden is quite a big setup and obviously requires much more care and attention – which is probably impossible for any working man, including me – but this issue is too pressing for me, especially in all my years of trying to track down where our food comes from, so I went full steam ahead. It’s a great weekend project to get started on and an opportunity to give up the remote for a spade and get those green fingers dirty. We’ve been fed this lie that we can’t do it ourselves; that we don’t have the time; that it’s too difficult – and it is hard work, make no mistake – but not nearly as hard as the lie would have us believe.
“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.”
– Michael Pollan