Thursday, March 14, 2013

Small Seeds, Huge Impacts

The green movement is growing and many people are more interested in having a productive home garden. This is a great thing! With the cost of food rising and the current veil of ignorance about what is in our food and where it originates; growing our own food is one of the most productive ways we can increase the quality of our food supply. Corporate forces use many different slogans and terms that can be confusing to a novice grocery shopper who is solely interested in consuming the best products for their body. A sure way to do away with the confusion is simple; plant your own seeds!

When preparing a home garden the excitement about the soon productive harvest leads numerous gardeners to prepare their soil with love, take their precious time in figuring out what type of growing methods to use, and then almost mindfully run to their local hardware store and purchase whatever seeds that may be available. However, one of the most critical aspects of a successful garden is a healthy and locally adapted seed. The issue with large scale hardware stores is that they sale the same products for a store in Texas, as they do in Maine, Tennessee, and Idaho. You may find yourself asking, “What’s wrong with that?” Not all regions of the United States can grow identical varieties of plants with the identical amount success of productivity. What grows prominently in Maine may not work as well as in Tennessee, Texas, or Idaho.

Plants are just like people. When a parent raises a child in Texas, then moves to Maine when the child is 16, it is likely that the child will encounter problems transitioning to the environment in that area. The same happens with plants and seeds. If a tomato plant grows wonderfully in Michigan, the seeds are harvested and then distributed here in Texas. There is no guarantee that the tomato seeds planted here will have the same success. However, if I harvest tomatoes seeds from The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden or Alabama Gardens here in Houston, TX; the likelihood of them thriving at your home in the greater Houston area is much more probable. While growing in a particular area, plants give their seeds the tools to thrive in that same general area at an even greater rate. Just like our parents did for us!

So now, I hope you’re excited about local seeds, and your next question is, “Where can I get these locally adapted seeds?” There is a select group of gardeners, farmers, and seed savers that gather and host ‘Seed Swaps’. The wonderful thing about the Seed Swap is that not only is it locally adapted to our climate, but the seeds are likely to be grown using organic techniques and principles. An added benefit is that you will have the opportunity to converse with the individual who grew and harvested the seed that you will inherit. This can be a very empowering experience. We can harvest and prepare a meal for you to eat once, but when we give you seeds to plant, and teach you how to nurture them, why should you ever go hungry again?

RSVP Here --->

The 2013 Spring Seed Swap will take place at Agape Community Garden, 6401 Calhoun Blvd., Houston, TX 77021 from Noon unitl 3PM. If you need more information please contact or 713-396-0001.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Growth for the New Year

To most people January represents much more than just the start of a new calendar year. For the majority of us, January is a time to change important and meaningful aspects of our lives. Some choose to rectify relationships, work to change economic situations, or to improve overall health and well-being. Usually, two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to improve physical fitness or eat healthier. Starting a vegetable garden is a wonderful way to knock out, “two birds with one stone”.

The mild winters of Southeast Texas make January a great time to spend some time in your yard, on your porch, or patio working to start or expand your own small piece of food security. The short days and cool weather makes it quite pleasant to work up a sweat tilling soil, building beds, and weeding plots. At the same time, Texas winters also produce more consistent rain and moisture which can be a great assistant to anything growing. Winter is a good season to sow seeds that can possibly be ready to harvest within a little more than a month. Seeds and transplants for cilantro, dill, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, beets, and lettuce are just a few items that can grow well during this time. The cooperative weather and quick crop turn-around are great motivators to spend more than a few hours working in the garden during January.

Don’t forget. When people think of planting a garden they generally think of the food harvested as the primary contributing factor to better health. Excited about the harvest, the fact that you actually have to do some manual labor is overlooked in its ability to be low-impact exercise. Statistics show that 40 minutes of gardening is equivalent to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

Did I mention that you could also possibly save money by growing your own food? The list of reasons to get started on your garden in January can be quite long and I only choose to explain two. I promise as soon as you choose to pick up gardening for your family, you will find many more reasons to spend more of your time indulging in better health and the simple joy of producing something meaningful. So, when pondering on how to achieve those New Year’s resolutions, always consider how a home garden can help turn that issue into an asset. In 2013 make the decision to add New Growth to your New Year!