Welcome back to Voyage of the Mind! Today, I’m delighted to feature my very first post written by a guest. The post offers up five reasons to start a garden. The guest is my mother, who didn’t want to make a WordPress account, so I’ll introduce you to her briefly here.

My mother’s name is Susan Schmidt, and she’s gardened since elementary school. She says she started gardening because she wanted to try growing plants. One of her grandfathers was the principal of an agricultural school in Korea, so you could say she was born with a green thumb! Since I’ve been in school, she’s started a gardening outreach program at the local elementary school and has sponsored several garden-based initiatives in the city of Medford.

Medford Green award winners
My mother (far left) with Sarah Florenz and the former mayor of Medford, Stephanie Burke, at the reception for the Medford Green Awards.

In 2017, she and Sarah Florenz won the Medford Green Award for their partnership in creating a community garden installation at Tufts Park, a few blocks from my family’s home. You can read more about that award in this article from Wicked Local.

Without further ado, I give you five reasons to start a garden by Susan Schmidt.

growing plants

5 Reasons To Start A Garden

By Susan Schmidt

In the midst of COVID-19, my garden looks better than ever. I have plenty of time every morning to care for my flowers and vegetables. 

Maybe you’ve grown up thinking that gardening is only for someone who has a “green thumb.” Or maybe you’ve tried to garden before… and killed all the plants under your care. Don’t despair — gardening is a fulfilling hobby that everyone can enjoy. Here are five reasons why everyone should plant a garden. 

1: Gardening is delicious…

You can eat the things you grow. Nothing tastes better than a sun-warmed cherry tomato or the first little leaves of spinach. Or the first strawberry (even if it’s sour). Or the first snow pea. Okay, you get my point.

2: Gardening connects you to nature.

A garden helps connect people with nature. In my garden, I can see how plants grow together and how the soil nurtures the plants. And the worms nurture the soil. There are insects that pollinate, fruits that develop, animals that come to eat your vegetables. The more careful observation I make of all the nature in the garden, the better I see the condition of the plants from day to day — where weeds need to be pulled, and which plants are ready for picking. Maybe it’s my training as a chemist that helps me observe and adjust to problems before they occur, but with a little careful observation you too will start recognizing the signs of a plant that needs help!

3: Gardening teaches patience. 

Maintaining a garden teaches patience. This spring, I tried growing a new vegetable: napa cabbage. I wanted to try growing it because a fellow gardener grew some beautiful ones last fall that looked perfect for making kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage). I planted the seeds, which are little ~1mm brown spheres, the first week of March, and recently harvested two beautiful heads that were about 10 inches long. With them, I made a batch of kimchi! 

But that batch of kimchi was three months in the making. You learn to have patience when growing a plant (though perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it is a relatively short-time period — think of the patience we need to grow a child for 18 years or so!).

4: Gardening helps you save money.

By gardening, you can save money and have stuff to give to your neighbors. I am a cheap person. I would rather grow my own beautiful heirloom tomatoes than pay three or four times more (my guess) at the grocery store. And my neighbors love tomatoes too, so I always have a place to send extra produce. Gardening helps reduce food waste, too. 

5: Gardens are beautiful. 

A flower garden is beautiful. I like to plant perennials that require very little maintenance and very little water. Which means that I rarely water my flower garden, yet it puts on a great display from April to October with a variety of colors. Perennials are also great for pollinators. You can have fresh cut flowers to put on your dinner table.

Hope I’ve convinced you to get your hands dirty.

Even if you don’t have a piece of ground where you live, you can always get a flower box or a pot and plant a combination of basil and annual flowers. Or you can convince a friendly neighbor to grow a garden and give you some of their tomatoes!

plants gr

If you enjoyed “5 Reasons To Start A Garden,” read more informative articles!

You can check out “5 Reasons You Should Learn to Cook” so you’ll be able to make something out of the delicious food you grow! Or read about the three most important things Laura learned about blogging in her first year and a half on the blog.

Think you have what it takes to inform and educate?

Pitch an article to us! Send submissions to lauraschmidt.writer@gmail.com. And include the phrase “Query — Voyage of the Mind” in the subject line. We consider all work.

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Do you garden? Has this article convinced you to start? Or do you have a neighbor you might be able to convince to grow you tomatoes? We’d love to hear your voice and your thoughts on this article or anything else!

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