Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19: Bored while homebound? Plant a garden. The benefits are many.

Nothing to do and worried about food as we all hunker down for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Plant a garden. Or get to know a farmer whoʻll deliver fresh vegetables.

Our farmers, lacking access to markets, are incentivised to find a way to get their crops to a market, any market, and many are looking at options including delivery.

And if you have a plot of land, and are stuck sheltering in place, once the rain stops, maybe till up a few square feet. You could be eating your own fresh vegetables in a few weeks.

Radishes will get you a harvestable crop in 21 days. Arugula, green onions or carrots in a month. Spinach in six weeks. Bush beans in six weeks to two months. Kale or broccoli in a couple of months.

Starch crops take longer. Sweet potatoes can be ready in three or four months, kalo in nine to 12 months for the corm, but leaves can be harvested for boiled or steamed greens much sooner.

Tomatoes generally can take three to five months to harvest, but cherry tomatoes can be ready in six to eight weeks. Cherry tomatoes have the additional benefit of being less susceptible to being stung by fruit flies.

Gardening not only gives you something to do in these difficult times, but the product is good for you, too.

During World War II, people in the Islands (and across the nation) planted what were popularly called Victory Gardens or War Gardens. Food supplies were uncertain, so folks planted their own crops in whatever plots of land they had.

Iʻve been told that Hawai`i was largely self-sufficient in food—or at least in many kinds of food—back then.

The message: Support your local farmer, or grow your own. It will have the side benefit of helping you understand just how much work it takes to produce your food.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2020

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