I picked my first home-grown courgette of the season this morning, and it reminded me of some of the delights of growing stuff. A tiny seed planted three months ago has become a big plant with lovely yellow flowers and delicious fruits to harvest and eat – it’s like magic! And the taste is different from anything you can buy in a supermarket. In fact, it has a real taste, as do the strawberries, carrots, lettuce leaves, even potatoes.
We have lost touch with the natural goodness and freshness of home-grown food, and the seasonal delights of our fruit and veg. Supermarkets have made them available year round, but at the cost of their taste and goodness, using all sorts of methods to make them look good and last, at the expense of their taste and health-giving properties.
It isn’t just the joy of harvesting and eating that makes growing stuff good for us. We get a bit of fresh air on a regular basis, even sunshine sometimes. This gives us the vitamin D we need to be healthy. We have contact with the earth, which literally grounds us and helps to counteract the effect of spending so much time surrounded by concrete, tarmac, metal, bricks and mortar.
And we are reminded that nature (including us) works in cycles. It isn’t natural to have instant results – it takes time and there is a flow to it, if we want a sustainable result.
Once upon a time, our lives would automatically have included the activities of sowing seed, nurturing our plants and harvesting what we grew. Without that we would have gone hungry. That is no longer the case, as we can easily and conveniently feed ourselves without ever experiencing the process of producing that food – we don’t even have to cook it these days! It may make life easier, but it means that we miss out on the joys, reminders and health-giving effects that growing something gives us.
Now I know that not everyone will want to grow their own veg and fruit, but we could all just enjoy one thing grown in our own garden, or even just a pot on the kitchen windowsill: fresh herbs, a strawberry plant, some cut- and-come-again lettuce. The satisfaction is great, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work.
And if you’re not into fruit and veg, growing a few flowers from seed is lovely. A few sweet peas on a tripod, a few marigolds in a pot – to sow the seeds and water them, and then have flowers a few months later is a treat for the soul.
A little bit of growing stuff is good for us. If you already do, appreciate the benefits and joys it brings you. If you don’t, get yourself a seed tray and some salad leaves seed, or some flower bulbs and a pot. Bring a little more nature and pleasure into your life.