On gardening a little

Feel the urge to grab a quickerino pizza at a convenience store? Maybe, just this once, you should boldly commit to the ultimate in unquick: Planting a tomato.

All you need is a tomato plant, pot, dirt and sun. A few months later, you’ll taste the difference between commercial tomato sauce and your own. No secret family recipe needed, just homegrown tomatoes pressed through a food mill and boiled down a bit.

The result? A tomatoey essence that seems many taste buds removed from the out-of-a-jar variety. And you didn’t need a garden plot, a tiller and endless hours of weeding.

Too many people look at gardening as an on-off switch: You either mount a campaign to wrest food from an acreage while you battle with baleful bugs, or you do nothing, except watch more TV.

It’s not a switch, but a very wide spectrum of effort and resources. Gardening just a little, if that’s what you want to do, brings big dividends, like luscious tomatoes, or sweet red peppers, or peas that taste fresher than you thought peas could be.

I marvel at a startling fact: Humans have come to depend, often entirely, on store-bought food only in the last century or so. That’s but an eyeblink in our evolutionary past. And how long do you think this utter store-dependence will last, or should last, or can last?

Gardening helps you break out of the cocoon of dependence woven by industrial life. You depend on pot or plot, plant and sun, instead of a very long food chain injected with huge inputs of fertilizer, pesticides and fungicides, topped off with tons of carbon dioxide emissions from cooking-cooling-freezing-drying-packaging-storing-transporting-selling.

So would you like to cut a slit in your cocoon with a garden trowel?