Solution: How to grow your own food

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Riverfront Times‘Five day decisions. Start living right.

If you’ve ever sliced ​​a hot straight-out wine tomato and put a piece of pure sunshine on a sandwich, the taste of a floury grocery out of season can make you cry with disgust. Even if you live in a small 4-family apartment or can not keep a cactus alive, you can at least grow something to eat this summer.

Start small. Pour a small basil plant and some dirt into a bucket and plop it in the sunniest corner of your garden / porch / fire escape. Maybe also a cherry tomato and a pepper plant if you have the space. Do it after Memorial Day. Water them most days and keep an eye on them. You can try starting your own seeds and planting spring crops in the winter, but it’s a kind of university movement – maybe save it for your ’23 or ’24 decisions.

True, you’re likely to kill a fair share of what you plant, especially in the beginning, but you’re probably not dependent on this harvest to keep your thirteen children alive through the harsh winter. (My personal agricultural Yoda is my father, and he has been running most of his 81 years. Almost every year something goes wrong in his legendary garden – every year is an experiment.)

“You just have to do your best and also give up control,” says Madyson Winn, garden center manager at Flowers and Weeds on Cherokee Street, a great source of vegetables, herbs, fruits, ornamentals and houseplants. “It’s a team effort, you and the facility and the surroundings, and sometimes things do not always go the way you want. The good thing about it is that you learn to do things differently next time. ”

These are low stakes, and each year you collect more data for what to adjust next time. If you go into it with that mindset, the inevitable setbacks (I look at you, Great Zucchini Blight from ’20) will not seem so discouraging. Remember – you’re doing this for fun. And sandwiches. Winn caught the garden bug early.

“I started as a kid. My mom told me I had to pick a plant to grow,” Winn says. “I chose yellow squash. I went out every morning and checked it out. When it was ready, it was just the coolest feeling, picking it and helping to make it for dinner.”

It’s not exactly sex, drugs and / or rock & roll, but watching a little green marble form on a tomato plant early on a June morning is a pretty incomparable thrill.

“It’s just seeing all the work you put into something come to fruition,” Winn says. “It gives you a chance to appreciate the natural world where beautiful and organic things want to grow.”

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