Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Together

I buy lettuce seed every year.  I plant it.  I water it.  I get excited as it germinates and grows.  And then I bite into my first leaf.  Ugh.  Blasted bitter Buttercrunch!  I’m all for homegrown goodness, but I’ve never produced a leaf lettuce that tasted better (or even equalled) that of Mr. Grocer’s.  The other day, I was whining about my bitterness (pun intended), when my friend Rhonda suggested rinsing the leaves and storing them in the fridge for a day or two.  “When you pull it out, the bitterness will be gone”.  WOW.  Zip!  Just like that, problem solved.

That’s why gardeners need each other.  Our collective efforts are more effective than our solitary attempts.  Together, we grow better. 

I’d love to join a garden club.  I just haven’t got the time.  I’m up to my elbows in kids, dirty dishes, dog slobber and work.   Being a mama is like that.  My time is not my own.  Someday, maybe, but not today.  And I love it.  Wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But I do miss the camaraderie of growing (and commiserating about) plants alongside my fellow man. 

The garden forums on the internet are bustling with people encouraging one another onward, against drought, disease and discouragement.  Gardeners are, by nature, encouragers.  If they weren’t, they would find a different hobby.  Pessimists need not apply.  One of the groups I follow has a global membership.  Yesterday I visited with an Australian gardener.  North is her sunniest direction, and with the seasons in reverse, her early bulbs are just getting underway.  Fascinating!  The internet has grown a global garden club.

But what about our neighbors: the people with whom we share gardening weather, bugs, nurseries, and conditions?  Could we use the web to knit us together as well?  To cultivate a community of growers into a garden of encouragement?  We need a place to gather together, regardless of schedules.  And that is the mission statement of KankakeeGardener.com: a hub for LOCAL gardening activities, pictures, presentations, and giveaways.  A place to grow together. 

So drop in.  Leave a note about what's shakin' in your yard.  Find out what the local horticulture industry is saying, doing and growing.  Together, we can plant a few seeds of community and see what blooms.  Go to KankakeeGardener.com and join the conversation.
See you there!


Casa Mariposa said...

The vast majority of people in my neighborhood aren't gardeners. They might buy organic food at the store but blast their lawns with as many chemicals as possible and keep the pest control companies busy. They grow whatever perennials their landscaper installed and when I tell them I have an organic garden they look at me like I have squids coming out of my ears and proffer the intelligent response of, "Oh okay. That's nice." Maybe I should move to Kanakee!

Design to Grow said...

Kankakee is not immune to the chemical onslaught that technology has brought us. But I'm hoping the more we talk, the more we encourage one another, the more natural we will become. I will say, in the neighborhood I live in, there is little pressure to have 'the perfect lawn', which drives so many to resort to chemical warfare. I'm thankful for that. But hey, Kankakeean or no Kankakeean, we'll keep you: you can bring your gardening-all-over-the-US wisdom to the table. : )

Blackswamp_Girl said...

You seriously may have just saved lettuce-growing for me. I always have the same issue, but I blamed it on late plantings, bad varieties, etc. I will definitely be trying this trick! :)

Design to Grow said...

That makes two of us! Bring on the salad dressing! :)

Lyn said...

Great lettuce trick! How come I never knew that? I'm now telling all my gardening friends. And I think visiting with you is pretty fun, too.

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