The harvests from the garden this year are over. You can of course grow things during the autumn too but since we are building our tiny house we decided to not grow any more vegetables this year. This first year was a test of sorts to see if we enjoyed spending time growing things since it will be a large part of our future plans of having a homestead. The great news is that we enjoyed it so much more than I could have imagined and it has been a very interesting and rewarding experience. Here are some things that our first year of growing food taught us:
We have always been careful to not throw food away unneccesarily but the experience of growing our own food brings food waste even more to the forefront of our minds. It is unbelievably wasteful in every single way to throw food. Because we now have an idea of all the time, energy, water and resources needed to grow food the thought of then throwing it out has become totally alien to us. When buying from a store you also have to factor in transport and packaging. These aspects all connect to the environmental cost but it is also money that you are throwing away. It feels unrespectful in every sense of the word to throw food so instead we treat our food with the utmost respect:
- we have stopped peeling vegetables and eat everything on the plant (like carrot peel and stems from broccoli)
- we actually look in our fridge and make sure we eat vegetables that are starting to wilt
- if part of the vegetable has gone bad we make sure to save the parts that are still edible
- we make sure we preserve everything that we have grown
It is so much fun
I realized I very much enjoy planting seeds, working in the garden, harvesting, preserving and eating what we have grown. It has also inspired me to cook more food (I was an uninspired cook to say the least) because I want to try new things with the vegetables we have harvested. Tomatoes are an example where I have made ketchup, tomato soup, salsa and tomato sauce from scratch. I would have never started to make my own ketchup if I didn’t have home grown tomatoes to use. We have also feasted this season on apples in every form: apple pie, apple sauce, apple juice, dried apple chips and apples in salads. I have challenged myself to cook so much more than I have before and it’s fun!
It has been a steep learning curve where we have done some research and then just gone for it and trouble shooted along the way. During the process I have learnt so much about everything that goes into growing your own food and I am richer for it.
It takes time
A big realization was that it takes time! Preparing the earth takes time, repotting takes time, the plants take time growing, harvesting takes time, processing takes time, everything takes time and is an exercise in patience. I had never thought of the time it takes to process and preserve what you have harvested. Because I enjoyed spending time on these tasks I figured out that I want to have more time to do all of it (hence the homestead plan is corresponding nicely with this).
Mrs Frugalwoods often writes about a deeper connection with your partner when working on a project together and I agree. Planning, preparing and executing a project and seeing the result really strengthens how we work as team. In the process we get to practice new skills, communication, division of labor, how to teach eachother and how to listen to eachothers ideas and all of which connects and develops our relationship. If we would only whip out our bank cards for everything we would miss out on this opportunity to grow our relationship. Working in the garden was a project were we got to figure out and learn about growing vegetables together since non of us had done it before.