The Garden of Eatin'

During times of war, people used to grow "victory gardens" to increase food production. We're not by any means at war, except perhaps with ourselves about whether or not to put a mask on and head back to the grocery store. Since canned goods can't hold a candle to fresh produce, why not use this extra time to start a little garden? It doesn't just help with social distancing, it gets you in the sunshine, provides a tastier yield and saves quite a bit of money.

Some parents start a pizza garden to connect their children with nature. It's a simple affair, with just tomatoes, basil and oregano. Everything grows above ground, and you can pick as needed while summer marches on.

Some people grow cocktail gardens on their balconies, with mint, rosemary and basil. If you'd like to muddle your way to greatness, Ladles and Linens has the book for you. I grow these herbs, plus Thai basil (my absolute favorite) and cilantro, because I can't resist homemade Vietnamese food.  

I'm quite a lazy gardener myself. I don't build raised beds or grow anything that I can't see. Fruit trees are perfect for people like me. I trim back branches once every spring, and let mother nature do the rest. Unless you consider a Caddyshack-like war against squirrels to be work, because those freeloaders are relentless. But all summer long I have fresh figs, peaches, grapes and raspberries.

And tomatoes have such a will to live, that I never even have to buy a plant. I take my shovel and sprinkle compost onto a sunny spot in my yard, and inevitably, tomatoes burst forth. I often find my 5 year-old plucking cherry tomatoes right off the vine and eating them in place. For larger tomatoes, I sometimes grab them before they ripen and surprise my family with a plate of fried green tomatoes. It can be as easy as planting a stick in the ground, per the deliciously-themed seed pods available at Ladles and Linens, pictured above. 

Regardless of your skill level, gardening is therapeutic. It connects you to the earth, helps you move with the seasons and provides more exercise than many think. So get a little dirty! As hard as social distancing can be for some people, creating a home garden is one way to contribute to the effort, and perhaps open you up to a hobby you never knew you loved.