Let’s face it. I’m a Brooklyn girl born and bread! The only thing I knew about fruits and veggies were how they were neatly laid out by color in order as to what they were in my local supermarket. Some of them were even bunched together either in plastic bags or on a nice styrofoam plate shrink wrapped in plastic. As I grew older, I did go apple picking and even though the orchards were beautiful and abundant — eating an apple straight off the tree seemed rather “odd” to me . . . almost sacrilegious! How messed up is THAT????!!!!
Fast forward what seems like 100 years. Looking back I feel as if I can kick myself. Why did I not know then what I know now?? Perhaps I wasn’t ready back then. Perhaps you need to evolve and learn and realize for oneself.
I am a true believer in Sustainable gardening. I also believe in eating whole, non-processed foods. I also know that organic non-processed foods are very expensive and very unobtainable to the masses. Processed foods are so much easier, convenient and affordable to purchase. So, how do we get organic, nutritious foods to places where once there was none? How do we get the farm to the apartment dwellers in big Cities? Or how do we get this food to the food banks? In A Place At The Table I was shocked to learn that when families go the food bank for food – they are handed tons and tons of cheap processed foods! We are killing our kids. I’m sure you hear on the news all the time now that this is the first generation that will not outlive their parents. How heartbreaking is that!
Changing your Brown Thumb to a Green Thumb
I needed to learn how to garden!! The Brooklyn in me kills almost everything I try to grow! I didn’t know where to start and did’t know how to go about it. Yes — there are a ton of Youtube videos, but I wanted a hands-on experience. Enter Tony Dagher – Urban Famer!
I subscribe to a website called Local Harvest. For about a year now, I’ve been getting weekly emails from then announcing the local gardening classes in my area. I noticed Tony’s classes back then, but have not had the opportunity to sign up until now. I made it a family effort and brought both my daughters and one friend. We spent the day outdoors, in the sun . . . one with nature!!! Here’s a quick synopsis of our day with Tony! Tony’s also listed in Natural Awakenings.
Tony taught us a lot of theory. You can not just jump into gardening without knowing the “science” of it, as I all it. Very overwhelming and LOTS to take in!!!
He also forewarned us on how to “dress” for gardening . . . “keep covered head to toe and ALWAYS wear a hat”!
Tony explained that you must wear boots, long socks, long pants and long sleeves to protect ourselves from snakes, ants, bugs and other living things in the garden!
He explained the importance of good soil and what it is made up of! Of course — Worms can take the credit for good, healthy soil!! Worms are our friends (ugh!!!)!
He also showed us the correct ways to grow tomatoes! This is the trellis he made by hand to grow them on!
Tony also showed us a neglected garden and what happens when people do not make the time to keep up with their gardens. “You must set aside some time every day to nurture your garden”, says Tony.
And then he let us loose with containers in hand! He let us go free into the garden to start making our container/basket garden. Here’s some photos of the girls and their finished product. I’m not showing mine because I actually made mine the week before. I will upload those photos after.
However, Tony did send me home with the biggest gift of all!!! He sent me home with a TON of fresh Callaloo!! The Floridian version of Spinach!!
But as promised – here are the s photo of the Container Gardens that I and my daughter made last week! I came home and put the whole basket into larger clay pots as directed and I’m feeding them rainwater. I hope I don’t kill them!!!!
I decided to get over my fear of gardening. I truly enjoyed being outdoors with friends and family and learning about the local harvest of Southeast Florida! It was truly a great way to spend the day!!! Now I just have to come up with great recipes for my harvest!
Whatever you do – if you’re already a seasoned gardener or just a beginner like me – just get out there and . . .