WHY YOU SHOULD GARDEN





There are more reasons to-day than ever before why the owner of a small
place should have his, or her, own vegetable garden. The days of home
weaving, home cheese-making, home meat-packing, are gone. With a
thousand and one other things that used to be made or done at home,
they have left the fireside and followed the factory chimney. These
things could be turned over to machinery. The growing of vegetables
cannot be so disposed of. Garden tools have been improved, but they are
still the same old one-man affairs--doing one thing, one row at a time.
Labor is still the big factor--and that, taken in combination with the
cost of transporting and handling such perishable stuff as garden
produce, explains why _the home gardener can grow his own vegetables
at less expense than he can buy them_. That is a good fact to
remember.
But after all, I doubt if most of us will look at the matter only after
consulting the columns of the household ledger. The big thing, the
salient feature of home gardening is not that we may get our vegetables
ten per cent. cheaper, but that we can have them one hundred per cent.
better. Even the long-keeping sorts, like squash, potatoes and onions,
are very perceptibly more delicious right from the home garden, fresh
from the vines or the ground; but when it comes to peas, and corn, and
lettuce,--well, there is absolutely nothing to compare with the home
garden ones, gathered fresh, in the early slanting sunlight, still
gemmed with dew, still crisp and tender and juicy, ready to carry every
atom of savory quality, without loss, to the dining table. Stale, flat
and unprofitable indeed, after these have once been tasted, seem the
limp, travel-weary, dusty things that are jounced around to us in the
butcher's cart and the grocery wagon. It is not in price alone that
home gardening pays. There is another point: the market gardener has to
grow the things that give the biggest yield. He has to sacrifice
quality to quantity. You do not. One cannot buy Golden Bantam corn, or
Mignonette lettuce, or Gradus peas in most markets. They are top
quality, but they do not fill the market crate enough times to the row
to pay the commercial grower. If you cannot afford to keep a
professional gardener there is only one way to have the best
vegetables--grow your own!
And this brings us to the third, and what may be the most important
reason why you should garden. It is the cheapest, healthiest, keenest
pleasure there is. Give me a sunny garden patch in the golden
springtime, when the trees are picking out their new gowns, in all the
various self-colored delicate grays and greens--strange how beautiful
they are, in the same old unchanging styles, isn't it?--give me seeds
to watch as they find the light, plants to tend as they take hold in
the fine, loose, rich soil, and you may have the other sports. And when
you have grown tired of their monotony, come back in summer to even the
smallest garden, and you will find in it, every day, a new problem to
be solved, a new campaign to be carried out, a new victory to win.
Better food, better health, better living--all these the home garden
offers you in abundance. And the price is only the price of every
worth-while thing--honest, cheerful patient work.
But enough for now of the dream garden. Put down your book. Put on your
old togs, light your pipe--some kind-hearted humanitarian should devise
for women such a kindly and comforting vice as smoking--and let's go
outdoors and look the place over, and pick out the best spot for that
garden-patch of yours.





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