One of the many questions we get in connection with living off the grid is, ‘why grow a garden?’
Doesn’t it make more sense to spend my time in my specialized career and just buy vegetables and fresh produce for my family?
Granted, perhaps from an economic point of view this may be true. (strangely I was an Economics major in University) But pure economic theory would have us always working at our specialized jobs and never ever at other pursuits. To us this unbalanced life is very detrimental to both happiness and family life.
I know how I feel after 40 , 50, or over 60 hours doing my ‘specialized’ job? It can really get to be a drag without something else to balance out my life.
But if a method existed where both economic theory and the hands dirty world of gardening could co-exist peacefully ?(don’t worry, this will not be a dissertation on garden economics- and I promise to never use words like ‘dissertation’ ever again)
Gardening especially from a homesteading point of view can be a great pursuit in, and of itself. You see, if you are saving on expenses, and having fun doing it, then it does not ‘feel’ like work at all. That is the key to a balanced life we think, and a great start for living off the grid.
Sometimes we must spend an entire week, or weeks on one project, but we always try to balance it out with other work. With the extensive work projects we have each year that really is not difficult either.
But, if you are just starting out, then a garden is a great place to begin to both save money, and eat better.
You see, the most important benefits from gardening is not the saved money aspect. It is much like cutting firewood in this respect. It is said that cutting firewood warms you at least 3 times (some claim 8 times), not just in the heat in your home. There is the cutting, splitting, piling and of course the burning too.
Gardening warms your soul from the time you till the soil, to the time spent planting, cultivating and finally harvesting and eating.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it does not have to be. Take your time, don’t blast away as you are expected to do with your other ‘job’. Pick your head up, look around, hear the birds.
As I am planting I always imagine eating the vegetables I plant. From onion seedlings comes onion sandwiches, tiny corn seeds planted and I am thinking of fresh corn on the cob picked only minutes before, and tomatoes so large they hang over the edge of the toast.
Anyone who has ever had a real toasted tomato sandwich, one that drips all over, and you have to do the hunch to eat properly (outside is best) knows what we mean.
The point is to not dwell on what could be drudgery, but to let the mind go. Hear the world around you, hear your heart sing, hear your breathing, know that it’s a good sweat, one that you have chosen. A garden is a great place to reconnect with your soul, that is really our purpose for living off the grid.