Am so passionate about sharing my gardening journey with you and am sure this would be a source of inspiration for you to start your own garden.
To gain more insight on why you should start a garden click here.
The Beginning of My Gardening Journey
I remember my parents usually tell us stories of their growing up days, while we were much younger,
one of those stories was about the farm and how they walked long distances to the farm early in the morning to plant,
weed or harvest crops depending on the farming season,
my mum will talk about how breakfast was prepared and served in the farm and how they came back before the sun got hot mostly on or before noon.
All of these looked so hard and not an activity for me. I would think of such a large portion of land to grow food that did not interest me. This is a story many of us can relate with being told by our parents.
I grew up in an urban area where we had lots of apartment buildings and less green areas and trees.
The floor of the compound was finished with concrete.
On several occasions growing up, I have visited my village and watched my grandmother and others go to the farm.
They came back with cassava or firewood a few times when I had attempted going to the farm, I must confess, it was difficult!
The thorns, thistles and bushes that filled the ground barely made my feet find a resting place.
What if there’s a snake under there or some insects that could bite? My mind will think.
I got the realistic view of what my parents had mentioned earlier to me regarding their growing up experience.
The closest I have had in my early growing years to modern gardening is the assignments we were given in primary school to grow corn and beans.
We used small beverage tins to plant, leaving it for a week or two before submission in school with which we will be graded and given back to take home.
During the process of watching my crop (assignment) grow, after they had been left for several weeks, it starts to die.
This got me wondering, why the crop did not grow beyond that level.
(as I grew much older I now understand that the beverage tins were quite small).
Aside from this, the whole idea of farming to me was considered hard.
It did not look like the kind of life I would want to live, having such massive land to farm was far-fetched.
I must be a grown up and rich to acquire such property, trekking long distances, the use of hoe, cutlass to cut grass.
I moved to a different state to further my education at tertiary level.
My gardening journey experienced a whole new change. When I lived with my uncle and his wife during the first two years in a tertiary institution.
They had a garden in the backyard. My aunt loved growing crops and raising animals. She grew Green (Amarantus), Corn, Pawpaw, Ugu, waterleaf, bitter leaf and Pepper.
Every time we made yam porridge or soup I noticed how easy it was to get to the backyard and harvest some vegetables or pepper to add to the meal.
My interest was heightened, I was loving it.
When the fruits got ripe we just plucked and ate.
I can say that was the moment I fell in love with the ease at which I could get fruit and vegetables, hence engineering my interest in gardening.
Each time I went on holiday from school home, this time my parents had built their own house and we had vast land I could leverage on for gardening.
I began implementing what I had seen my aunt do.
The first crop I tried planting was corn. Funny enough, I would have resumed school before they were ready for harvest (meaning I was not always there to taste it,
being that I would have traveled back to school upon resumption).
However, I found satisfaction knowing that what I planted had actually grown and was available to be eaten in the house.
Further Reasons to Continue Gardening
Honestly, I can say I got spoiled with the presence of my garden which I started in my parents’ compound.
The day it dawned on me what I had been enjoying and garden should be considered luxury life was when I moved away from my Uncle’s place to live on my own while still continuing my education.
It was the usual corn season and I decided to go buy some roasted corn.
The price of the corn got me aghast.
Not as though it was too pricey but, my amazement was how I have been growing and eating corn as I desired without having to buy it, it felt strange to purchase it at such an amount.
You mean people spend money to buy corn when you can grow it with less and have enough to eat for yourself and family. (What my thoughts were like).
The other scenario is very similar. This time it was soursop, I noticed it at a fruit shop and rushed to buy, asking the vendor for the price,
she told me it cost five hundred naira and one thousand naira respectively.
What! The sizes of the soursop were quite small, besides, they were not fresh looking!
Hmmm… it was too costly for what it looked like, over time I discovered the price ranged within that amount.
From that moment I valued the soursop tree in our house and the size of fruit it produced would go for about 1500 to 2000 naira and that’s what I eat for free.
At that moment the time, energy, resources invested in growing the crop became worth it.
Then I realized how sweet it was for me to grow my own food and this was one of the things I stand to enjoy.
The Quest for Healthy Living
After reading some books and articles on healthy living and seeing the benefits of vegetables and fruits to the body and how one can be healthier I decided to eat more of them.
In my own opinion growing my food would help make such a possibility and save me a fortune.
The Life I Love to Live
At this time I was done with school and now back in my parents place.
In my parents house my mum had planted ugu, scent leaf, bitter leaf, waterleaf, Utazi, pawpaw, mango, water apple, soursop, guava, plantain, banana, lemongrass, tomato, pepper, cucumber, Cucumerina.
The compound was large enough to contain all of these.
Words are not enough to express the feeling when the fruits get ripped, especially when you have more than one type of ripe fruit.
There is more than enough to eat and also to share with neighbors.
What of the pleasure the plants and trees give to the eyes
The fresh air, beautiful trees provide shade to sit under and enjoy personal or family time.
Having had the privilege to experience such a lifestyle, I was certain I was sure of the kind of life I want to live.
At this point of my gardening journey my mind was made up about following this path to grow my food.
Now that I’m on my own, one of the major things I look out for when I am searching for an apartment is gardening space,
uncemented ground where I can grow my food.
I can remember one of the apartments we lived in,
after we newly moved in an acquaintance came to visit on seeing the unfloored portion of land he was pissed and wondering why we would have chosen such an apartment
To my husband and I that was good ground to grow our food and we did.
Am happy my husband loves gardening too, this is one of those things we have in common,
and having our child appreciate this as well is a delight.
This is my gardening journey thus far,
I’ve never seen farming or gardening as a hectic work again, it’s been a life changing experience.