I was reading an article today that really got me thinking. It was from the electronic version of Growing Produce Magazine. It was discussing the loss that Florida Growers suffered this past January. Here is the article:
The record-breaking cold spell that affected Florida for almost two weeks straight in January hit many growers hard, especially tomato growers. Almost 70% of the early spring crop was destroyed.
Fresh tomato prices have been impacted greatly. Reggie Brown, executive vice president of Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, is reporting that a 25-pound box of tomatoes is trading for $30, compared with $6.45 a year ago. The prices are expected to take a tumble in April as South Florida’s crop, which appears in tact, comes on line.
The current shortage in fresh tomatoes have restaurants scrambling to adjust their menus and/or ration what they have. It also has forced supermarkets to consider more imports.
The very last sentence is what really got me to thinking. "It also has forced supermarkets to consider more imports". There are a lot of problems with this. The sanitation of many foreign countries is WAY below ours. Pesticides used by some countries are forbidden in this country, yet we eat the produce that it is used on from them.
I have been screaming for years, trying to get people to grow more of their own fruits and veggies. It is one of the many reasons I became a Master Gardener.
It truly is not that hard. I hear excuses like,
"I don't have enough room". Well, Tomatoes, Peppers, Okra, Carrots, Herbs, and a whole bunch of other things can be grown on a small scale in containers. I am not saying you will be able to live on what you grow, but you sure can grow enough for a few sides of meals.
"I don't have a green thumb, nothing grows for me". There are more books, websites and helpful information available than ever before. Certainly more than our Grandparents ever had! They just kind of knew and passed it down to the next generation. Sadly, gardening is a dying art! How long does it take to Google "How to Grow XYZ?" Yet, many of these same people can tell you were to find the words to a new song or a secret code to do something in a video game online.
"I don't know what to plant". This one is easy....what do you like to eat? Beans are a very easy crop to grow. They are very easy to find seeds for. They are very nutritious and are usually very heavy producers. If you don't like beans, there are hundreds of other things.
"I don't have time". Most of the time a little water, the occasional feeding and watching for weeds and bugs is all it takes. For a small garden or a couple of containers, I would bet the average time needed would be about 15 minutes a day. Or at least every other day. While you are drinking your morning coffee, wander the garden or observe the pots. It is therapeutic as well as helpful.
I won't even get into the healthy aspect what of a little exercise will do for you.
There is a huge trend to grow your own veggies right now. Why not jump on the train? The amount of information out there is steady and strong, take advantage of it. Buddy up with your friendly, local Master Gardener. Ask questions, join garden clubs, go to plant swaps...read and pass along my blog. (ha ha) I bet you can/will learn a lot!! Gardeners are some of the most generous people I have EVER met!