I’m excited that “Grow,” our year-long gardening program held here at the farm starting October 24, is half-full with a great mix of people of all ages and backgrounds. A few others have expressed interest, but are concerned that they won’t have the time or the funds. This is my advice based on years of focusing on creating a lifestyle that deeply fulfills me:
If Grow is something you really wish to do, then go for it. You may feel like you don’t have time at the moment, but if you set your priorities, then events and logistics rearrange so that what you truly want slides into your life.
If you’re worried about the cost (a total of $600 for 36
sessions), consider that you are essentially paying up-front for your produce
for a full year. I can’t guarantee the weekly basket of veggies, herbs and/or
flowers will supply all your needs, but certainly much will be met during the
key growing months. And all with high quality organically grown foods that you
|M R Gardens|
If we factor in the investment it takes for a program like this to get started—the established gardens, greenhouses, equipment, tools, land, not to mention what the teacher (that’s me) brings—16 years of experience, education, and lessons learned through trial-and-error—the value of this program is immense. But I’ve kept the program at a cost similar to a CSA share because I really want people to give this model a try. I understand your life is packed, and I am very appreciative when you can prioritize being a part of growing your own food.
When determining if your budget can handle something you love, it’s often best to ask—“Is it feeding my soul?” If it is, then usually no monetary value can adequately illustrate the amount of joy, health, education and motivation it brings into your life. Proactive, positive energy carries over to other parts of your life, providing fuel that you didn’t have before.
What is Grow?
M R Gardens is offering a new opportunity for clients to be involved with the growing of their own food at our two-acre farm in the Oakley community. Called “Grow,” the program meets for a full year on a nearly weekly basis, starting October 24 with building the soil for the following spring. Grow participants learn how to cultivate food in diversified, ecologically sound gardens, and then take home the bounty, dividing up the harvest of vegetables, fruit, flowers and/or herbs.
M R Gardens is now interviewing potential students. To confirm that the program is the right fit, applicants go through a simple application process. Candidates can contact me (Megan) at 828.333.4151 to set up a meeting at the farm. The main requirements are an interest in a unique ecological way of landscaping, excitement about the work of gardening, the ability to help create a conducive learning environment for all in the group, and acceptance to others of different backgrounds and belief systems. Applicants should express interest as soon as possible, and the first payment is due October 20.
Grow offers education not only in the specifics of growing each particular vegetable and fruit, but also in creating a healthy system to support the crops. That includes beneficial microbes that convert the nutrients in the soil into a form that plants can uptake; beneficial flowers that attract pollinators as well as predators of garden pests; and native plants that are key elements of the food web. Participants also learn about naturalized landscaping, ground covers in place of grass, medicinal herbs, and seed starting in M R Gardens’ passive solar greenhouse, which is climate controlled by design with no additional heating or cooling.
The goal is to create ease and fun in growing food. When farming is concentrated in the hands of a few, it can become drudgery. On the other side of the coin, home gardening can be frustrating if the knowledge and the group structure isn’t in place.