Getting to the Heart of the Matter
In the course of my gardening and foraging journey I often find myself in conversation with people who are curious about what I do, and why I do it. People are interested these days in what it looks like to get back to to the land, and to rediscover traditional skills. That is a good thing! I love having these conversations, but at times I find myself feeling like I am defending my gardening choices, or explaining why I am not bringing in huge harvests every day.
My garden is small. It's bigger than you would think I'd be able to have, but it's not going to be something that we could ever live off. We have built up raised beds in almost all of the available space, but I have given a good half of it to perennials - herbs, a few berry bushes, bunching onions, rhubarb, and things like that - and most of these are fairly recent transplants so they aren't giving me huge yields. Another factor in my harvests is that I have prioritized late harvest vegetables this year. I'm growing dry beans, winter squash, popcorn, cabbage, and things like that. I'm also not in the greatest spot for tomatoes (although I still try) so mine come in quite late. Same story with the peppers. I have some ideas for how I can get a better jump start on these next season, but the fact of the matter is on top of all of these considerations gardening is always unpredictable. One day I would like to do this in a way that it would support our family, but for now I am mainly growing things that are interesting, or hard to find at the local farmers market.
I think also some of these questions represent the disconnect people have with their food sources these days. Growing what we eat takes time, space, and knowledge that most people don't have anymore. When my neighbour asks why with "such a big garden" I am bringing in these small harvests, I know she isn't insulting my gardening skills, rather the knowledge of what it takes to produce food has been lost.
I'm not sure what the overall point of this post was, but I was wondering how those of you reading feel about this topic. My past couple of years of gardening and foraging have been so eye opening. Every new season brings challenges and discoveries, and I am constantly amazed by everything I am learning about creation. Leave me a comment if you have any thoughts. What are the challenges you face with choosing more of a homesteading kind of life? Are people baffled or mystified by the choices you are making?