Monday, April 30, 2012

Gardening for Grandmas & Un-Trendy People

This is my favorite picture of my grandma, with my son at 3 weeks old
Ok. I know that gardening has had a big revival lately – and that’s awesome. Really, I’m happy that people are gardening more. Gardening is a wonderful thing.

BUT. I need to vent.

It’s not like it is fresh, novel, new, innovative, ground-breaking, or any other buzz words you come up with. (OK, it is technically "ground-breaking," but you know what I mean.) People are acting like no one has ever gardened before. It’s trendy. Ugh. And you know what happens when something is trendy, it becomes a thing and people go a little nuts.

"...a time when “green roof” wasn’t a buzz term or a reason for a tax credit, when Brooklyn hipsters weren’t farming acres of kale on tops of warehouses and when the owners of multimillion-dollar SoHo penthouses weren’t laying in multimillion-dollar “instant” gardens..." via the New York Times.

It reminds me of the foodie trend that hit hard a few years ago. All of a sudden it became so uncool to make normal food – everything had to have goat cheese crumbles and sprigs of dill. But maybe you didn’t want to be cool, you just used them because that’s what you like to use.

Gah! The hype, the pressure, the chance of succumbing to goat cheese crumbles. It's not a big fricken deal, my peeps!

It makes me feel uncomfortable to think that I might be succumbing to a trend – because I don’t want to be trendy. I just want to be me, you know what I mean? I love gardening, I have since I was just a wee baby and was eating dirt and who-knows-what while dad weeded. Will others judge me because I garden? Because I use certain methods? Because I choose to rototill hay into clay soil instead of "lasagna" gardening? (didn’t you know that the world revolves around me and what people think about my actions in the garden?)

So, my reality check is this: Everyone gardens where I live. It’s the norm, and has been since the land was forested and turned into fields. The goat cheese crumbles of gardening are a way of life here. If my grandma does it, it can’t be trendy, right? Right. No need to worry.

Ranting done (I think). Here are things that grandma does in her garden, and therefore cannot be trendy:

She composts
She uses worms and worm casings
She fertilizes with cow poop and compost
She deters rabbits with night soil (aka pee-pee from the chamber pot)
She sticks fallen branches in the ground to prop up her massive cherry tomato plants
She saves seeds to plant next year – or just allows plants to reseed themselves
She grows herbs just to look at
She uses boards and fallen leaves as mulch
She makes the occasional raised bed, and always out of materials she has on hand
She uses organic methods because that's how she learned to garden
She yells at animals trying to eat her veggies (and sympathizes with my woodchuck plights)
She uses various items as plant pots - if it holds dirt it qualifies as a planter
She container gardens
She tries at least one new variety every year, and loves it when I give her fun tomato seedlings
She has issues with throwing away plants
She has made the most beautiful soil and wonderfully eclectic gardens out of heavy clay and lawn with time, patience, and a deep love for gardening

So, if you do any of the above things fear not: You are not trendy. You just like to garden. Unless you want to be trendy, then more power to you. Go forth and use all of the buzz words you want to. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me, kay? (and ignore that I'm wearing glasses that look suspiciously like the ones that Tina Fey wears in 30 Rock)

1 comment:

WolfSong said...

Thank gosh someone other than me does those things. And I think it's cool that it's your Grandma. :) I will add one thing to the list, and I learned this from my Grandma-and I'm a little scared to share this, lest anyone think I am a raving lunatic, but here it goes...I use cloth pads for that time of the month, and pour the rinse water into the compost. Cheaper than using bloodmeal, happens at regular fertilizing intervals, and is really good to help the compost cook. My Grandmother used to pour the bloody water at the base of any plant that needed a boost in her garden...I compost it because of the cats int he neighborhood. The smell attracts them to the plants, but not to the compost.