Sep. 15, 2022

Eat What You Grow, Grow What You Eat- Farmer or Gardener?

Growing up in Jamaica , 99.9% of the stories I heard about a gardener involved a male gardener. The women who dealt with flowers were usually called "Florists".

Farming was done only in the rural areas or places like St. Ann, Portland, St. Mary and Manchester. So if we had relatives visiting us from "country", we always looked forward to the goods they brought especially the sugar cane and coconut jelly.

There was a time when not many people were interested in agriculture. As for myself I lost interest in agriculture after planting a sweet mango seed and it didn't grow.

I was so disappointed, for years I thought that only special people could plant food.

Fast forward to the COVID pandemic in 2019, many people realised the importance of growing your own food. With rising cost of food worldwide and some things being scarce, we had to find a way to help people survive.

I went to Sovereign Shopping Centre one evening to drop off something for a relative and saw a man selling strawberry plants.

I loved strawberries a lot, so I just had to buy a plant from him. I went home, prayed and then planted the strawberry tree. It looked droopey for a few days, then it began to flourish. I was so happy that I went and bought pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, cucumber seeds, broccoli and I think tomato or sweet pepper seeds.

The pumpkin grew, blossomed then dried up. I still cant find the cucumber. The broccoli grew big beautiful leaves and some form of pest keep attacking the leaves.

The melon grew, blossomed and bore fruit but somehow the vine broke before the melon matured. I was so sad and disappointed.

As for the strawberry plant that was growing nicely, oh well the "wackermen" just cut it down like it was weed while cutting our lawn. I cried.

So much time and effort and resources went into monitoring those plants I almost gave up. But I didnt. I just prayed to God Almighty and came up with a new project.

We built a fence. We weeded our grass ourselves. I didnt have the tools but we used tarpaulin, newspaper, cardboard and weed barrier fabric to stop the weeds from growing where we wanted to plant. I think linoleum works best at stopping the weeds.

We bought pots and planted seeds in them with potting soil. I did not know that I was supposed to use a spray bottle to water the seedlings so I lost a lot of seedlings due to heavy water pressure on the young plants.

Am I a farmer yet or gardener? Nope i'm just a trainee. Its one of the best learning experiences i've had so far outside of formal educational training.

Today I learnt that when we only watch videos on YouTube just to learn how to do something, we end up only mimicking what others do. It is better to research, ask the professionals, read books as well as watch the YouTube videos so that we can know the foundational stuff like why, when, where and how. I still attend the YouTube School of Agricultural Science and the Google Research Institute.