How Container Gardening Has Transformed My My Life
During the lockdown, like many of you, I found myself with more time on my hands and a desire to be more self-sufficient. As an epicurean home cook with a love for Caribbean cuisine, I saw an opportunity to not only reduce my food budget but also supercharge the nutritional value of my dishes. That’s when I embarked on a journey that would take me from stressed and unsure about what was happening around me in the world to calm and confident – the world of container vegetable gardening.
I started my gardening adventure by choosing the herbs and vegetables I used the most. Chives, ginger, chadon beni (culantro), parsley, rosemary, ochro, sweet potato leaves, and mint were among my first green companions. These were supposedly the easiest to grow, making them perfect for a beginner like me. Over time, I expanded my garden to include pak choi, cucumbers, pimentos, cherry tomatoes, and most recently, eggplant. My kitchen was soon blessed with a rotating array of fresh, homegrown ingredients.
Of course, gardening isn’t without its challenges. Climate and pests have been a constant battle. And with a container garden, there’s the added responsibility of ensuring proper watering, as these plants lack a natural ground source for hydration. Even during heavy rainfall, I must check the soil because not all the water reaches it due to the foliage. Yet, these challenges have taught me resilience and resourcefulness, as in many cases I have discovered safe, effective organic solutions to address many of the problems I’ve encountered.
One of the unexpected joys of my gardening journey has been the connection it’s fostered with my mother, an avid lifelong gardener herself. It’s become a shared passion and my decidedly late in life ‘conversion’ amuses us both immensely. We exchange tips, share successes, and commiserate over the occasional setback. It’s become another beautiful way to bond and create lasting memories.
Beyond the practical benefits, my container garden has been a lifeline for my mental health and anxiety. It’s a valuable teacher in patience, teaching me to stay present in the current moment and appreciate it for all the beauty it contains. Watching a plant go from a tiny seedling to flowering and finally bearing fruit is a truly life-affirming experience. It has brought a sense of peace and tranquility to my life that I never expected.
In conclusion, my journey as a small-scale container gardener has been a transformative one. It not only provides me with with fresh and nutritious ingredients for my culinary adventures, it also nourishes my soul. It’s a reminder that even in uncertain times, there’s beauty and growth waiting to be discovered, right in our own backyard or patio.
So, if you’re looking for a way to infuse your kitchen with flavor, nutrition, and a sense of calm, I wholeheartedly recommend container gardening. You’ll be amazed at the delicious rewards and life lessons that await you.