Happy Wife, Mother and Gardener in West Tennessee, USA. Meet Renee!
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Have you always been growing your own food?
I come from a long line of farmers and gardeners. I had many opportunities on a daily basis to learn self-sufficiency. DIY and making do with what you have was the order of the day. Growing food, cooking, canning and freezing were normal and necessary activities. As is often the case though, as a young person, I didn't fully appreciate the value of that legacy. I married and moved to the city. It didn't take long before I missed the fresh home-grown produce and the joy of watching things grow. Through the years I have always found a way to grow something even if it was in pots on an apartment patio. You'd be surprised at how much you can actually grow that way!
What are some of the other things you would like to have other people understand about living a healthier and self-sufficient life style?
I would like them to know that it's attainable and well worth the effort! You don't have to do everything perfectly all at once. Take small steps in the right direction.
What tips and tricks could you share with other people?
Start where you are. You don't have to move to a farm in the country. Do a little research to find out about what zone you are in and what grows well in your area. Plant something! Dig up a small area in the back yard, fill a large pot with soil or try straw bale gardening. There are so many ways to garden! If you don't have a suitable garden space see if you city has a community garden program. By all means, whatever skills you have or are learning, share them with your kids! Teaching them life skills like cooking real food and where food comes from will serve them well all their life.
Have you ever made mistakes or failed doing something?Absolutely! Failure is a part of life. In gardening there is room for lots of experimentation plus you have the variables of working with nature. Learn from the mistakes and keep trying.
How did you overcome any obstacles?In recent years the main obstacle for me was that my yard was too shady for a productive vegetable garden. A friend that had moved into the area discovered that our city has a community garden space in a large urban park! It's old farm land, wide open fields with lots of sunshine! Plots are free for the asking and water is even provided. I now have plot446, 2500 square feet of garden space to grow in to my heart's content! I would encourage others to check to see if their city has a similar program.
Have you ever dealt with a person who disregards your life style?I have not encountered any real negativity. In fact, many people show interest and ask questions.
What are some of your greatest rewards with a lifestyle such as the one you live?The obvious things such as healthy fresh food and the ability to know for sure what is in and on that food are important to me. I feel good about my contribution to providing for our family by growing and preserving food. There are physical and mental benefits to the work that goes into gardening as well. The exercise is great and I find such joy and peace in the garden. Mothers and grandmothers everywhere were right, all that fresh air and sunshine are good for you! Above all, having such a basic life skill as knowing how to cultivate the earth, plant a seed and nurture it to maturity feels like such a privilege to me! I'm grateful to those that taught me and I love to share that knowledge!