Food From Your Own Garden
BY AWAKE! WRITER IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
IN MANY lands a daily concern of people is how they will feed their families. The high price of common vegetables often makes doing so a real challenge. Nevertheless, some have found a relatively simple solution—growing some of their own food!
You may very well want to try starting a small garden yourself. True, there may not be much land around your own home, but perhaps there is some land nearby that you could arrange to cultivate. Think of all the money you can save by producing delicious and healthy food! Gardening can even be a way for you to get some needed physical exercise. A garden can also be a family project that your children will enjoy. Indeed, cultivating a vegetable garden is educational. It teaches such qualities as patience. (James 5:7) Additionally, watching things grow can draw you closer to the Creator of all good things.—Psalm 104:14.
Now do not imagine that growing your own food will be effortless or that you will get quick results. However, with determination and a little know-how, you can succeed!
A Family Meets the Challenge
Take, for example, Timothée and Lucie—a Christian couple with two children, who live in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. They found that starting their own garden was a practical and enjoyable way to stretch their modest earnings.
When Lucie was 13 years old, she cultivated a small garden next to her home, working in it after school and on weekends. She took pleasure in watching it grow. It was not until years later, though, that the idea of starting a garden for her family came to her mind. She arranged to use a nearby field that was basically serving as a garbage heap. Lucie saw its potential. Far from resulting in a ruined parcel of land, the disintegration of the garbage over the years had created soil useful for growing food. Lucie and Timothée decided to turn that land into a flourishing garden.
First, though, they had to do some research. They talked to others who knew about vegetable cultivation, and they listened carefully. Since the plot of land was in need of irrigation, they even learned how to dig their own well. Reading books on gardening also proved helpful.
They read about plant interactions, and they learned that some plants help one another to thrive. However, some plants actually hinder one another’s growth. Some say that carrots and tomatoes are ideal partners in a vegetable garden. Likewise, planting celery and cauliflower together is advantageous for both. And dill is a “friend” of peas, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. However, green lettuce and parsley do not do well together. Onions will harm green beans and peas. When plants are harmful to one another, they weaken and become an easy target for pests and harmful insects.
Timothée and Lucie also learned that it was unwise to cultivate a single plant crop on a plot of land. If it was attacked by insects or disease, they could lose everything. Planting a well-chosen variety of plants helped them minimize that risk. Herbs and flowers added color, life, and beauty to their vegetable garden and attracted bees and other useful insects that help gardens remain healthy.
This couple also found ways to avoid using poisonous sprays on their crops. They learned that simply planting garlic can help rid a garden of certain pests. *
It took much hard work and patience, but today Timothée and Lucie have a thriving garden. It produces cabbage, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and eggplants—sometimes more than the family can consume!
Grow Your Own Garden!
It is not just in Africa, though, that people have discovered the practicality of having their own garden. In Germany, for example, there are over a million urban allotment gardens. Sometimes called Schrebergaerten (after the German physician Daniel Schreber), the allotment gardens are clusters of small parcels of land (between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet [200 and 400 sq m]) that are rented out to city dwellers. According to one researcher, these tiny gardens “play an important role for the production of fresh fruits and vegetables.” The gardens also serve as patches of “paradise” for the gardeners—a place to work and relax.
The Bible promises that one day soon the entire earth will be a global garden—a genuine paradise. (Luke 23:43) In the meantime, though, perhaps you can find a patch of land and have the joy of obtaining food from your own little garden.
^ par. 13 For further suggestions on ridding a garden of pests without pesticides, see the article “Gardening the Organic Way,” in the March 22, 2002, issue of Awake!
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Timothée and Lucie drawing water for their family garden
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An allotment garden in Munich, Germany