Sunday, June 08, 2008

Vegetables in the City.

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to teach the lesson in Relief Society. Given the chance to choose my own topic, I decided to plan a discussion on Self-Reliance. Why you might ask? Well, with the rising cost of fuel, the rising cost of grain, the increase in natural disasters both internationally and right here at home, I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I am prepared for "rainy days" that may be in store. And, “the Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent... As people become self-reliant, they are better prepared to endure adversities [and are] better able to care for others in need” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders [1998], 257).

"We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for ourselves and take care of our own needs. And so we encourage our people to have something, to plan ahead, keep a little food on hand, to establish a savings account, if possible, against a rainy day. Catastrophes come to people sometimes when least expected—unemployment, sickness, things of that kind. The individual, as we teach, ought to do for himself all that he can do for himself" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 586).

In my study, I learned that when we think about self-reliance, there are six distinct areas to focus on:

  1. Education and Literacy
  2. Physical health
  3. Employment
  4. Home storage
  5. Resource management (finances, etc.)
  6. Spiritual, emotional, and social strength
Interestingly, my new year's resolutions and goals both last year and this year, all fell under these six major headings. I guess I unknowningly was trying to be more self-reliant, so this lesson just helped to solidify and refocus some of my current life goals.

After mulling throughout this last week on ways I can become more self-reliant, I identifed several things I'm going to make a concentrated effort to focus on, one of them being to plant a vegetable garden. I love vegetables and have been rather frustrated with the high prices of produce available lately. Although my mom had a vegetable garden a few times when I was a child, I've never really planted and maintained one myself. I decided on Friday at about noon that I was going to plant one; after trips to Home Depot and local nursery, by Saturday at 5pm it was done!

Here's what it looked like when I started:

“To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives" (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders [1998], 257).

Hard at work:

As you can probably see, our vegetable garden is a container garden. Since we live in close quarters with our neighbors and don't have any "land" to speak of, I knew the container gardening was the way I'd have to go. What I didn't realize was that the containers would fit so perfectly on the window well grate! Whoever said you couldn't have a garden in the city. :) I guess that was I, but I was wrong. Doesn't it look great?!

Let me introduce you to our summer friends, from left to right:
Top Row: Patio Tomato, Early Girl Tomato, Zucchini, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Beets (seeds), Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Peas (seeds).
Middle Row: Lettuce (seeds), Basil (2), Oregano, Rosemary.
Bottom Row: Dill, Mint, Sage (2), Rosemary, Chives (seeds), Radishes (seeds).

So, now I've decided I want to become a horticulturist. :) After I was checking up on our friends twice after I planted them yesterday, Katie had to kindly remind me that, "a watched tomato never grows." :) Good thing I have a busy summer ahead, so I won't be watching them too much. I'll just be happy when I can reap the rewards at the end of the summer.


Andrea, MPA, JD, MRS said...

I think Katie is wrong. I think a watched tomato does grow. In fact, the more love and attention to pay to plants, they usually grow better. So keep visiting them. You can even talk to them. Or play music for them. :-D

I am so jealous of you. I would love to have a little garden like that. Alas, I have not yet had time this summer to do one. But, hopefully I can before it's too late.

Kimberlee St. Clair said...

I am so excited for you! I love gardens, and have been growing my own every year since Felicity was born....When I started, my plot was a little University of Utah student plot....I shared it with my friend Laura....we grew broccoli (and other things)....the broccoli was bug infested : - (....This year, my garden is 24 x 14 feet....I love it! My tomatoes have flowers on them, my strawberries have berries, and the seeds are all poking their little heads up...Keep us all updated on your veggie-progress....Love ya!