Current Happenings

Real-time updates on FIT activity in and out of the field

Am I growing a vegetable garden, or is my garden growing me?

June 23, 2020 - Blog -

When the coronavirus pandemic forced me, as well as much of humanity, to severely restrain my daily routine several months ago, to include cutting off my social life, as I basically “self-isolated” at home, I found some solice in digging up a small patch of my backyard lawn and planting a “Victory Garden.” While my initial goal was to become more self- sufficent, with respect to fresh and nutritious vegetables, now, more than three months later, I am amazed by what my garden has actually done for me, far beyond filling my belly.

Its true; my vegetable garden has helped me to grow in so many ways. When the Spring crops came in with a vengence, I found myself loaded down with spinach, lettuce, radish, collard greens and swiss chard. 

What was I to do with all these fresh veggies you may ask? Share with family, neighbors and friends of course – which allowed for some highly rewarding and much needed bonding and self-satisfaction, as others gladly partook of my home-grown produce.

And yet, the bountiful supplies of veggies far outstripped the demand – so, I searched the internet and learned how to prepare both the veggies and their greens in a wide variety of new and exciting ways, and also how to prepare and freeze various soup stocks and fresh crops too. 

Along the way, my overall diet improved, as I felt guilty allowing any of my vegetables to go to waste- and consequently I lost 15 extra pounds that I really didnt need!

Presently, the summer crops are coming into their own, as I sit here in my reading chair and explore online how to make homemade marinara sauce, salsa and tomato wine from my 15 flowering plants, which are starting to form fruit. While also in my garden,  the squash, beans, onions, and peppers (hot and sweet) are growing fast, as I explore new and creative ways to use them within a myriad of still-to-be experienced culinary delights. 

Because of my vegetable garden, I find myself looking out with delight at the months to come, (irespective of the damn virus) even into and through the fall season, when my potatoes, both white and sweet varieties, will have ripened and be ready to harvest. 

It’s true, my vegetable garden has helped me to grow, and to find simple pleasures grounded in the fertile soil. What a gift it is to share my bounty with others during this heightened time of isolation and stress. How unexpected it is to look out into the future with a sense of positive anticipation of good things to come from my garden. 

I find myself enjoying the natural world in a different way, as I dig in the dirt, weed and water my plants in the cool quiet of the early morning.

My garden has helped me to grow a healthier state of both body and mind; such a gift in these unprecedented and trying times!

Cheers From Boyds, Maryland

Michael Gresalfi

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