As if we needed yet another reason to garden–have you seen the price of food lately? From fresh vegetables to coffee and cotton, prices have jumped. And don’t even ask about the price of chocolate. Our beloved sweet may become a rare commodity, indeed. No kidding. Seems West Africa farmers are giving up the crop in pursuit of better wages in the cities while at the same time, world demand is increasing. Have you heard the health benefits of dark chocolate? Heavy on the cocoa, easy on the milk. Not a good combination when it comes to the demand side of the equation.
Then of course there’s a certain hedge fund manager who bought a ton (literally, I think) of cocoa beans for investment. Downright evil market manipulation is what I call it. How could he be so cruel? Why, I have a mind to grow some cocoa plants myself. I’m in Florida, they grow near the Equator… Sounds like a feasibility study’s in order!
Thank goodness gardening is easy and fun, else we’d all starve of malnutrition and chocolate deprivation. Plant, water, harvest, consume–easy!
Okay. You caught me. I’m luring you in. But truthfully, gardening doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, once you learn the secrets to mutinous-proof weed maintenance, it’s even easier. If you don’t believe me, ask my kids.
Or, follow along as I guide my friend Julie through the process of starting a family garden. We’ll begin from scratch and work our way through each step of the process, much like we did with Mandie. Remember her? She’s still gardening, I think. (Please, Mandie–tell us you’re still you’re still growing green and strong!)
But there are more great reasons to garden than it’s easy and fun. Think of the health benefits (non-toxic, because we only garden organic), the convenience (who has time to run to the store every time they feel like a fresh strawberry and spinach salad?), the educational aspect (last time I checked, botany was still a subject at school), and of course, who can forget the main reason: gardening for the sheer joy of it. For the kids, it’s more the adventure factor–creepy crawlies tend to be exciting for them whereas we seem to have lost the enthusiasm for that kind of thrill. (Wait–I know it’s here somewhere…)
Stay-tuned and watch the fun as Julie and her family venture into the land of green. Better yet, how about join her and start a garden of your own and share your experience wit us? We learn by doing! A lesson best achieved in the company of fellow enthusiasts.
Though it sure would be nice if cocoa plants grew like this row of garlic. I could wait a season. But five years is pushing it.