Long before gardening was trendy and plants were collected for decorative purposes, communities sought livelihood and survival through the growth of their own food.
Current lifestyles rank convenience, abundance, and variety over all else, making gardening feel out of reach for those constantly on the go. As a consequence, the affinity we share with our food is often lost.
We’re collectively less aware of how it was grown, where it was nurtured, and the miles it traveled to arrive on our plate.
In light of the recent pandemic, many of us have the privilege to slow down and address these questions. With mandated lockdowns and more time than ever spent at home, more people have the opportunity to sow seeds and tend to the garden.
We are living in a unique moment of immense fear and many uncertain questions in how the future will look. Just as we honor our essential workers, there is a unified sense of gratitude over simple pleasures, such as sharing a meal with friends, appreciating natural spaces, or learning a new craft.
Whether you are one to start gardening in this time to cultivate a new hobby, spend more time outdoors, or learn more about food, we honor your food journey.
Here are some home gardening tips if you find yourself this mix.
For our bee friends…
Pollinators will love you and your yard if you create spaces for pollinator-friendly flowers.
Any portion of a garden committed to planting for the bees and butterflies can make a difference due to their endangered or threatened status.
This northeast plant guide by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation will provide some beneficial plants to support the wildlife.
For our tea lovers…
Whether you’re a strictly wintertime tea drinker or an all-year-round fanatic, you can cultivate a garden space to gear up.
While working on an herb farm, I had the best time mixing simple herbs and flowers such as holy basil, chamomile, calendula, and rose petals to create wonderful tea concoctions. You can grow your plants in the spring and summer months, dry them, and use them all year long to blend teas. Great for yourself or as a gift!
Learn more about plant benefits and tips for your own concoctions here from Fifth Season Gardening.
For our veggie lovers…
Sure, ornamental gardening is beautiful, but reaping the bounties of your harvest has its benefits too!
Growing your own food can be empowering and a therapeutic process of getting intimate with knowledge of where your food comes from. If you’ve typically only planted ornamental plants, try a gradual shift of planting easy foods you can grow.
Leafy greens, squashes, and peppers are a great place to start.
For our composters…
If you’re invested in a decent amount of garden space, consider saving your compost scraps to turn into soil.
Since Vermont’s mandatory compost rule, compostable items are no longer allowed in the waste bin anyway. A handy use for such scraps can be putting it right back in your garden. I recently created my first compost bin using the layer method, as demonstrated in this youtube video, and found it to be both a learning and grounding experience.
Save yourself some trips to the garden center for soil and make your own!
For our squash growers…
One of my favorite summertime activities was picking zucchini squash flowers from my grandma’s yard.
I’d fill my overall pockets with blossoms and run inside for “Aai”, my grandma, to lightly pan fry them on hot summer evenings. I love how these beautiful orange blooms can provide both a pop of color and a tasty snack.
I even came across new ways to try them, as featured on @zizaurbanfarm’s instagram, with goat cheese or ricotta.
If you try out any of these tips or have tricks of your own, share them in the comments. We’d love to know more about what you’ve been growing whether you’re a lifelong gardener or just recently started.
Green thumbs up for gardening!