Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Why Garden: Co-creating With Nature Is A Step Towards Less Consumerism


Moringa Oleifera (Malunggay in Filipino)

One of my favorite non-fiction author, Michael Pollan, whose books include "Botany of Desire," "Cooked," and "The Omnivore's Dilemma," posed the question, "Why make your own bread or beer when you can buy them for only how much at the store?" to paraphrase him. Indeed. 

The answer is that we've lost touched with how our food is grown and produced. We've left the growing and production (also over-processing) to faceless workers and corporations who make us laboratory rats of their sinister recipes. Maybe, we shouldn't be surprised if the young kids (or new generation) thinks the food they eat are grown in supermarkets. And talk about the current state of obesity and poor health.

Lemongrass from supermarket cuttings
Having a very small balcony is already a luxury for me as in my old residence, I was gardening on the ledge which later became a bone of contention for nosy neighbors who complained to the building's administration. Which caused me to uproot and transplant myself to a new place almost two years ago.

In any case, all I've got is about 2x5 feet of space and the afternoon sun. Being situated against another tall building also causes a wind funneling effect that makes growing vining/climbing plants next to impossible. Not that I didn't try but the bitter melon (ampalaya) and eggplant seedlings weren't able to survive the drying and constantly blowing wind. But I still consider myself lucky.

Given the small space and limited direct sun exposure, I'm being realistic about what I can grow. I'm also realistic in knowing I can't be anywhere in the territory of self-sufficiency. I garden because I can. And because I love plants. They make city living and concrete views tolerable. I can also eat some of the plants I grow. 

Papaya seedlings

Recently, I bought some Moringa seedlings (malunggay in Filipino), perchance, I can harvest the leaves later for food and supplemental nutrition. I've also rooted lemongrass cuttings (tanglad) from stalks I've bought from the supermarket. I was thinking they can do double duty -- making the air fragrant while keeping mosquitoes away and at the same time, I can use the leaves as flavor and aroma enhancers for my home-brewed Kombucha ferment. Then, I've also sowed papaya seeds from fruits I've bought from a nearby street vendor.

Of course, I'm still harboring dreams of someday owning a farm. Whether it happens in this lifetime or the next is up to fate. But I can't waste time trying to manifest it, I'll plant in the here and now.See you in the garden of dreams!

#citygardening #urbangardening #greenevolution #greenthumb


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