7 Reasons to Become a Gentleman Gardener

In the 21st century, it’s harder than ever to gather fresh produce and grow your own food. The rise of convenience has increased our need for fast food and grocery stores that are close by, but did you know gardening is an excellent solution? If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, becoming a gentleman gardener can be one way to start.

The “things a gentleman should know” are 7 reasons to become a gentleman gardener. This is a list of things that every man should know, in order to be the best he can be.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post by John Porter.

It’s time to think about gardening now that the weather is getting warmer and summer is approaching. You say, “Gardening?” Gardening, to be precise. If the mere idea of it conjures you images of elderly women in huge hats and fancy gloves tenderly pinching blossoms from their roses, you’re mistaken. There are several reasons to start gardening if you haven’t before. It’s time to put your gardening misunderstandings aside and grab a shovel and a hoe.

History of Manly Horticulturists

Gardening has a long and illustrious history among men. Planting crops tens of thousands of years ago resulted in the development of what would ultimately become modern civilisation. Wheat, barley, and other grains were among the earliest crops. However, don’t mistakenly believe that agriculture developed just to ensure that everyone could eat bread. Modern theories of early agriculture, on the other hand, demonstrate that the technique began so that Neolithic nomads might make their own drink. That’s correct, the primary goal of early agriculture was to create beer. It doesn’t get any more manly than that.

Fast forward a few thousand years, and you’ll discover that some of our time’s most acclaimed gardeners were males. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was perhaps one of the most prolific and daring of them all. He was well-known for his gardening skills throughout his lifetime. He would even compete with his pals in the spring to see who could pick the earliest peas (manly competition has obviously changed with the invention of football and video games). He maintained a record of his difficulties and tribulations in the garden, and he has left a legacy that continues on today. The gardens of his house, Monticello, are still in use today in much the same way as they were when he was the gardener-in-chief. There’s even a Thomas Jefferson Historic Plants Center.

Aside from Jefferson, we have garden pioneers like Luther Burbank, the father of the Russet Burbank potato, who produced over 800 types of plants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His unorthodox and messy tinkering propelled the horticulture business for decades, culminating in the passage of the 1930 Plant Patent Act by Congress. He was given 16 patents posthumously after his death four years earlier. W. Atlee Burpee, Burbank’s colleague and rival, owned the world’s biggest seed corporation when he died in 1915. Every year, the firm distributes over one million catalogs and processes over 10,000 orders every day. Burpee Seeds is the company’s current name.

Johnny Appleseed, of course, is the one horticultural hero who has been immortalized in song and legend. He wasn’t simply a legend of frontier America; he was a genuine person. Despite the fact that he lived in poverty, John Chapman (his true name) became a legend throughout his lifetime. He moved west ahead of the expanding United States, bringing apples to most of Ohio and Illinois’ frontier. However, this itinerant farmer wasn’t cultivating apples to provide people with all of their fruits and vegetables. Apples weren’t eaten back then; they were used to make cider, such as hard cider and applejack. He also sold fruit plants to pioneers, who were compelled by the government to plant fruit trees as a mark of their links to the land they were granted. “Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcomed in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was delivering the gift of alcohol to the frontier,” Michael Pollan says in The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World. He was our Dionysus in America.”

 

7 Reasons Why You Should Plant a Garden 

“Why do your examples of a lot of dead, masculine gardeners suggest that I should be gardening?” you could be wondering. I’d have to agree with you that it doesn’t imply anything. However, there are other reasons why you should garden. Right now, I’ll go through a handful of them:

Vintage gardening poster grow your own.

Reason #1: You are aware of what you are consuming. 

A growing number of individuals are focusing their diets on organic or naturally produced foods. That’s OK, but just because something is labeled “organic” doesn’t imply it’s any healthier. Even when organic food is produced on a huge scale, problems might arise. Take a look at the food biosecurity concerns with contaminated product that have plagued the industry in recent years. Furthermore, the requirements for “certified organic” may not be as strict as you believe.

Vintage gardening poster thrifty patriotic plant today.

Reason number two is that you can save money on food.

There’s a reason why, according to some estimates, home food gardening surged by more than 30% after the 2008 economic meltdown. Growing your own fruits and vegetables will not only add more green to your refrigerator and diet, but it will also add green to your budget. Growing a hundred heads of lettuce from a $2 seed packet is considerably more cost effective than purchasing one head of lettuce for $2. Some gardeners may claim that home-grown food isn’t always less costly, but you must avoid the impulse to stock up on the newest gadgets, sophisticated equipment, pricey tools, and exorbitant fertilizer. By being economical and sensible, you can keep your garden in good shape without breaking the budget. When you utilize recycled materials, generate your own compost, and bargain shop, it becomes even cheaper.

Reason #3: It has the ability to attract/impress a partner.

You’ll amaze your “someone special” if you invite them over for a romantic, home-cooked candlelit meal. It will be the icing on the cake if you tell your date that you cultivated the tomato and herbs in the spaghetti sauce. Finish the meal with some fresh strawberries from your garden, and you’ve hit the ball out of the park. Gardening exhibits expertise and devotion, as well as the ability to care for your future family in ways other than bringing home the bacon.

Vintage gardening poster 1950s grow your own.

Reason #4: It may help you become more self-reliant.

Sure, getting food these days is as simple as going to a large box shop and picking anything you want off the shelf. But what if a natural disaster disrupted that constant food supply? Do you have any clue how to start cultivating your own grub? Even if the zombie apocalypse is still a long way off, knowing that you don’t have to depend on faraway producers for your food and that you have the skills to transform seeds into nutrition is quite rewarding.

Reason #5: Gardening is a terrific way to get some exercise.

Being a couch potato may be the closest you’ve been to gardening. Perhaps working on your six-pack abs is your notion of wellness. Gardening may be a great way to get some exercise in any case. Planting, growing, harvesting, and lifting are examples of tasks that provide moderate exercise. While producing some great grub, you may burn calories and improve your health.

 

Reason #6: Gardening may be used as a kind of therapy or meditation.

Do you ever feel like life is wearing you down? Are you worried about something? Gardening may help you achieve inner calm and focus by emptying your mind of all the distracting ideas that life throws at you. Digging holes or removing weeds is also a great way to relieve stress.

Gardening will link you to nature, which is reason #7.

We’re not talking about Kumbaya and sharing circles. We’re talking about really leaving the house/office/parents’ basement and going outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Getting right down in the muck. Humans used to work in accordance with natural seasonal cycles, particularly when it comes to food. We’ve lost touch with the seasons and the natural flow of the planet since we can buy fresh food all year at the grocery store.

What Is the Best Way to Begin Gardening?

Vintage gardening poster 1950s dig for victory now.

Plant something, that’s the basic solution. Get growing, even if it’s only in a pot in your apartment window. See what’s available in your region at a local garden center or shop. You may also look for mail-order garden firms on the internet. Contact your local extension agent if you are utterly lost or want assistance. These people (including me) are compensated to link you with the knowledge you want, and they often give seminars for new gardeners. If you want to improve your gardening skills, the extension office also offers the Master Gardener program, which is a combination of intense instruction and voluntary work. Contact your local land-grant institution or go to www.extension.org if you don’t know where to look for an extension agent. There’s a lot of useful material there, as well as a link to your state’s extension service and a box where you may write in a question to be answered by an extension specialist. Who knows, maybe one day your horticultural prowess will be legendary, and tales of your garden will be passed down through the generations.

Plant something, that’s the basic solution. Get growing, even if it’s only in a pot in your apartment window. See what’s available in your region at a local garden center or shop. You may also look for mail-order garden firms on the internet. Contact your local extension agent if you are utterly lost or want assistance. These people (including me) are compensated to link you with the knowledge you want, and they often give seminars for new gardeners. If you want to improve your gardening skills, the extension office also offers the Master Gardener program, which is a combination of intense instruction and voluntary work. Contact your local land-grant institution or go to www.extension.org if you don’t know where to look for an extension agent. There’s a lot of useful material there, as well as a link to your state’s extension service and a box where you may write in a question to be answered by an extension specialist. Who knows, maybe one day your horticultural prowess will be legendary, and tales of your garden will be passed down through the generations.

In Charleston, WV, John Porter is a West Virginia University Extension agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. He grew up on his family’s farm in Wayne County, West Virginia. He is presently based in Kanawha City, where he is working to turn his little backyard into an edible farm.

 

 

The “100 things every man should own” is a list of items that are essential for any gentleman. The list includes everything from the basics like underwear, to more advanced items such as a pocket watch or a good quality cigar.

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