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More people planting gardens

Suzanne Griffith

More people planting gardens

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I’VE BEEN THINKING BACK on the past year and looking forward as well.
This past year, more so than in years before, I’ve received emails from readers taking their first steps towards growing their own food.
I’m encouraged by readers who readily declare they have no idea what they are doing in the garden, but are keen to succeed. Gardening is an adventure, and I’m so pleased that so many of you have been inspired to start gardening.
Remember, life happens. There are times when our gardens will flourish; equally, there will be times when weeds will grow.
If you are thinking about starting your garden in 2012, here’s some easy math to encourage your effort.
If your family consumes two heads of local lettuce per week at $3.50 per head for one year, at the end of the year you will have spent $362.00 on lettuce.
In my family’s case, I’d much rather grow our own lettuce and use the money saved to pay twelve months of water bills. Grow what you’re able to – lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and herbs – in order to save money, but leave root vegetables to the patient experts – our islands farmers.
With the close of another year, our food import bill continues to climb. Think before you buy, and then buy local or regional. We as consumers continue to create demand, and, even worse, we pay high prices! Resolve in 2012 to buy local. Make it to the farmers market and support our own farmers.
I’ve said my piece this year on predial larceny. The theft of crops and livestock is reprehensible. On a regular basis, agricultural produce worth thousands of dollars is being stolen and sold to unsuspecting and suspecting consumers.
Each and every one of us must put ourselves in the farmers’ position; we must consider the amount of effort that goes into the production of crops, only to have them spirited away just as they are ready to be harvested.
If you suspect you are buying stolen produce, do your part – kindly say, “No, thank you”.
Finally, I am dismayed to read that leptospirosis is on the upswing again. We can all do something about vermin and the spread of leptospirosis. First and foremost, protect yourself when you’re outdoors, especially in the garden.
Wear gloves and shoes when working in the garden and wash up thoroughly when you are finished. Although it’s fun to “get your hands dirty”, don’t be tempted – wear gloves!
Discourage the proliferation of vermin. Ensure that you are not encouraging the presence of rats and mice in and around your property. Rats and mice need food and a comfortable place to live. Please don’t give them either. If you have a vermin problem and you’re not sure what to do about it, call the Vector Control Unit. They can help.
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