Weeds, beetles, caterpillars, rabbits, groundhogs, excessive heat, downpours, miscalculations and a few failed crops… .
By this point in the summer, the average organic gardener may wonder (very briefly) if it’s really worth all the effort.
Will we really eat all that eggplant?
And just how many onion tarts can the family consume?
The Joys of Organic, Fresh-from-the-Garden Food (and a little lavender)
Here in the Delaware River Valley, we’re very lucky to have direct access to our local farmers’ year-round bounty. And most of us will always rely on those and other sources for foods we can’t supply ourselves. But this time of year, there’s nothing quite like plucking the veggies, herbs and fruits that reside just outside the kitchen door, setting them down on the cutting board and unleashing their incomparable fresh taste.
Of course, there’s probably a reason so many master gardeners are somewhere north of mid-life. It takes years to fine-tune the art of producing our own food, particularly when we grow organically. Each year and every type of crop brings a new challenge. It may be finding the right organic treatment for cabbage worms (bacillus thuringienis kurstaki, according to You Bet Your Garden and others), so our broccoli can safely arrive on our dinner table. It may be painstakingly plucking off the beetles that love to eat our raspberry bush leaves. Or it could be staring down the local groundhog, who would otherwise happily consume our strawberries just as they burst into their finest shade of red.
But, yes, it is worth the effort. When we slice those strawberries into the morning’s bowl of cereal. Or pickle those fresh cucumbers, knowing they’ll bring back summer memories when the snow and ice return. Or transform the extra eggplant and tomatoes into a robust ratatouille.
And beyond the beauty, the scent, the taste and the sense of accomplishing something real, our organic garden gives us healthy food devoid of chemicals, GMOs, hormones and antibiotics. It keeps our soil rich and productive. And it may even play a small role in reversing the effects of global warming.
For all the sweat, backaches and disappointments of the daily gardening routine, the mid-summer bounty repays us in spades.