It all started with basil. I kept seeing all these recipes for fresh basil that I wanted to try. Herbs had yet to experience the renaissance they are currently enjoying, so I couldn’t even buy one of those little overpriced plastic clamshells filled with wilting basil at the grocery store.
No, if I wanted it I would have to grow it. I was a newlywed, in college, with exactly zero gardening experience except walking by my parent’s garden the few summers that they grew one. They barely cooked with dried herbs, much less fresh ones.
I bought terra cotta pots and seed packets and started my very first little herb garden on the back patio of the house we were renting. I learned a few lessons about gardening that summer. The main one is that it actually requires effort, and plants do not magically sprout with no tending. I harvested nothing that first year and that total failure should have prompted me to give up.
Still, the next spring rolled around and I felt the calling to try again. I still wanted to experience fresh herbs, and, besides, we had a house of our own now. The yard was huge and begging for a garden.
I put out a few tomatoes that were pretty quickly infested with mites. (Still, it was an improvement, there were actual plants involved, which is a lot more than I can say for that first herb garden.) I asked my gardener-father what to do about it and he directed me to a chemical pesticide in a spray can. It even had a big picture on the front of a healthy tomato plant. Just a few quick passes with this can and my gardening woes would come to an end!
I took home my little can and then decided to read the warning label. It was adhered to the side of the can, and it peeled off. Turns out it was less of a label and more of a booklet. There were pages and pages of instructions. It sounded like I should have been in a full-body protective suit to even touch the stuff. Gloves, goggles, probably a face mask.
You can imagine my confusion because this was something I was going to put on food. Food that I would eat.
I promptly tossed the can in the trash and ordered a book on organic gardening from Amazon.
So began my journey into all things sustainable. What was meant to be a simple herb garden has totally changed my entire lifestyle. It’s gone from herbs, to veggies, to flowers, to berries, to fruits, to chickens, to bees… you get the idea. I’ve simplified every aspect of my life—from my electric bill to my personal hygiene to the processed, packaged food I now try to keep out of my pantry.
All of this has led to this new project: SustainableKentucky.com. Here is where I’ll document this new life of mine and I’m hoping that you’ll join in on the conversation, too. Be sure to check out the About page. I’ve also set up a book store through Amazon so that you can see and order our favorite books and help support the site in the process. Use the Contact page to let us know what’s on your mind. I’d love to hear from you!