I Grew Food!


During the years I was sandwiched – raising my kids and in charge of my mom while also working a paycheck job – I wondered what I would do with myself once I came out the other side and ever had a minute. In that time period, which I refer to as the Whack-a-Mole Era, a lot of things got neglected on the domestic front as I spent all of my time and energy handling one crisis after another. My husband was working long hours during this time, too, and our house got the bare minimum attention to keep it livable, while I tried not to notice how my physical surroundings were falling apart.

Now I do have some minutes occasionally, which gives me the leisure to look around my house and see all of the things that could be better. Add in the fact that I’m an introvert who spent years with no time to myself. These days I find myself with a desire to simply be home and focus my energies there.

One of my efforts this year was growing a few plants. My husband has always been the gardener. I’ve helped with weeding and harvesting, but never actually grown any food myself. I’ve put in a couple of shrubs and I plant annuals every year along our walkway, and that’s about it.

This year I decided to try starting a few things from seed. My greatest hope was to put in milkweed, as food for monarch butterflies. Beyond that, I thought I’d start simply with a couple of herbs for us, some to be put in the ground and a couple in planters.

I bought peat pots and staked claim to a spot by a sunny window. I got great starts with half a dozen each of milkweed, cilantro and basil. Three basil plants survive to this day. That’s right, every last milkweed and cilantro shoot died. But I have basil! Two in a pot and one in the ground. Yesterday, I harvested some leaves and cut them up into a pasta salad. For the first time in my life, I ate food that I grew myself.

I also threw in some of my husband’s banana peppers.

It feels good, mastering a new accomplishment, feeling somewhat competent in basic survival skills (if I don’t think about the cilantro or milkweed.)

If the apocalypse happens and the grid collapses, you can depend on me. I’ll supply the salad garnish to keep us all going.