Greetings, Associates of Cathy Spence,
Cathy has delivered garden examples for your pleasure and entertainment,
in part, to encourage you to become a gardener. There are many benefits often
sidetracked by a false attitude--"It is a lot of work."
Food budget benefit: We will produce $10,000 in market value vegetable and
fruits at about $2.50 per sq.ft which is like $15,000 pre-tax. Our production
costs are one to three cents per dollar raised. With food prices escalating
faster than the rate of inflation, a garden is money in the bank and a safety
net if the economy breaks down, you lose your job, or, worse. Better to have
the skills before an emergency than standing on sidelines begging for help.
You have fresh food which you know rather than corporate question marks:
GMO? Insecticides? Color dyes?
Canning: It is not hard. Put in a favorite DVD and putz your way through
the steps. Mrs. Wagner pre-packaged mixes are the way to start. Our best
year was 2012 with 500 quarts. (My first DVD each season is Lord of the Rings
Trilogy then the Downton Abbey.) We have a coalbin converted into a
If you compare the time and money costs of maintaining a lawn versus growing
a garden, it is a wash. You will spend more time in growing grass than in
If a garden reduces your eating out by one meal a week, that is, an annual
$2000 savings, or $80,000 in a 40-year career. Luckily, Cathy and I like
cooking and our stirfry is par excellent pour bon appertif. We often
forgoe our self-promised monthly datenight for the pleasures of exploring
Save gas from from not driving so much.
Mental health clinic: Less than 10% of garden time is dirt-focused. Most
of the activity is automatic which gives you time to think about the rest
of life. As an employer, I always encouraged workers to take a couple of
hours each weekend to reflect on what went well and bad at work so as to
maximize one and minimize the other. A garden is a mental health clinic which
recharges your batteries while bonding you with the primordial rhythm of
life derived from being at one with Mother Nature. Sounds kooky, but it captures
the essence of being surrounded by a myriad of miracles, e.g., a pinhead
tomato seed produces dozens of 16" baseball-size gorgeous tomatos. Or, consider
the weakly plant that you give a little extra attention which becomes the
garden champion--a metaphor for life. A garden is better and cheaper
than a shrink for your mental worries but not as good as a real friend. A
garden helps you become more of your own person as you reflect on your views
and values. (If you are going to earplug music that will self-distract your
cogitations, you might as well go be a couch potato instead of trying to
raise some garden potatos. Most people don't have personalities because they
are always self-distracting, digitating either iPads or iPuds to the detriment
of intra- and inter-personal growth, to wit, smart phones dumb people down.
[I maintained one of the first two cell phones in the 1960s: They were for
the President to conduct nuclear war.])
By reducing or eliminating the angst of everyday life, a garden saves $1,000's
by eliminating the very expensive and wasteful "shop till ya drop." I estimate
our annual savings from not buying unneeded new cars, clothes and houses
(35 years at 3600 Anne St), at over $25,000. This allows us more free time
and funds to donate to many worthwhile causes. A $200 dress or suit is not
as rewarding as a recurrent smile and thanks from helping others help themselves.
If you have children, you can share the joy until they start grumbling which
is a perfect time to begin teaching the work ethic. If you give a child a
series of toys and players, you affirm them for a serices of days. If you
teach the work ethic, you affirm them for a lifetime for themselves and for
you. The parents who teach the work ethic have children in later years who
say, "How can I help?" rather than "Give me more." (Weed pulling without
earphones is good for a child developing a better personality for self, others
Abraham Lincoln said one will measure one's live in the friends they made.
Life is a series of memories which is all we have to show for what we did
with our time. A garden can be a catalyst to a happier, freer life grounded
in the ground from which all life springs.
At the risk of being a garden snob, discussing gardens is more rewarding
than obsessing on world soccer or other habitual playgames, to wit, I am
a water ergo more rather than wasto ergo sum.
You will be happier with whom you are and become as a result of raising a
garden. All those old folks with gardens did not do it for the food out of
desperation but for the pleasure. Cathy and I look forward to our morning
tour with coffee in hand to see what Santa Claus left us overnight.
Give up the rat race for the root race.
Give up shop till ya drop for grow till ya glow.
Don't fertilize and mow when you can fertilize and grow.
You are invited to visit our website www,CaveGarden.com where you can see
Cathy on an eight-foot ladder picking. And, visit our garden at 3600
Anne Street, three houses behind Crossroad Coffee Shop by Forest Hill Park.
Make a Saturday morning of it. Visit the Forest Hill Southside Farmers Market
(best and biggest in Richmond) and come by between 10am and 12am for a tour.
If you are not amazed, you will be the first unamazed visitor. We have had
people knock on door to compliment or to request a tour. Gardening increases
one's fun and freedom especially when you add up all the new friends you
make thus fulfilling the Old English origin of friend: Freedom.
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