Every season is

Food prices have increased steadily since 2008 and this has become a real concern, especially for people living in poor countries. We're simply getting less and less food for the same amount of money. Then a natural question arises: Can we grow our own food instead of paying the food chains? I wanted to test whether I can grow something at home. The balcony seemed a natural choice, since it got a good exposure to sunlight and plant progress would be easy to observe. Initially, my mother had objections against my plan due to the limited space there. But one day I came back with a couple of pots and soil and when she saw me, she asked what I was doing. She heard it and said: “Winter isn't a growth season.” I replied: “Every season is a growth season.” Then I realized what I said. Not only that, but now I had to prove it.Food prices have increased steadily since 2008 and this has become a real concern, especially for people living in poor countries. We're simply getting less and less food for the same amount of money. Then a natural question arises: Can we grow our own food instead of paying the food chains? I wanted to test whether I can grow something at home. The balcony seemed a natural choice, since it got a good exposure to sunlight and plant progress would be easy to observe. Initially, my mother had objections against my plan due to the limited space there. But one day I came back with a couple of pots and soil and when she saw me, she asked what I was doing. She heard it and said: "Winter isn't a growth season." I replied: "Every season is a growth season." Then I realized what I said. Not only that, but now I had to prove it.

Growing plants outside is normally easier than in a closed space, so planting different seeds allows to test which ones would flourish.

I didn't want to invest too much time or money. The seeds and the the plastic pots are inexpensive, only the soil can be. I chose pots that are wide and deep, but not very spacious. Having multiple ones would prevent plants from suppressing their growth, especially in the long term. Although soil comes in large packages, it can be used quickly. Bigger packages are generally cheaper. My 4 pots soaked up almost 15l of soil, which is impressive. This isn't a single type of soil, but three different types that I mixed. Creating the mixture took me around 2 hours, since I wanted to make sure no big clumps are left. Here I made the first mistake by filling the pots with the fine soil, not taking in account what would happen after I water it regularly. Since I watered the soil daily, it went down visibly.

Temperatures at that time of the year can easily affect how fast the plants grow. At night, they reached around 10C so far. Most days were neither gloomy nor sunny, so it's probably a good balance. It remains interesting to see what would happen in colder days.

Being aware of the daily plant progress can create some unexpected emotions. For instance, during the first 6 days I could see only the radishes spring up and I felt a bit sad about the others. I thought that something with the weather or the seeds was wrong. But again, I just kept watering even when losing some faith. But then, on day 8 or so, small leafs started to appear, which made me happy again. Although small and gentle, I liked the way they differed slightly. They started quite early to orient themselves towards the light, which surprised me a bit.

Here is the result after approximately 10 days:

growing plants at home

We often forget how long natural foods need before they become edible. Something that grows 20-30 days can be eaten in a second, which puts the produce-consume relationship at heavy disproportion. It somehow doesn't feel right. This is why, to accelerate the process, we tend to use pesticides, herbicides, solid and liquid fertilizers and other stimulants. At the end, all these chemicals enter our bodies through our food intake, where they cause severe illnesses. There's simply no way to get a healthy product with polluted soil. Unfortunately, food chain agendas are determined by profits and not by health concerns. But our choice as consumers is also a market driver. What will we decide—to eat something unhealthy now or something healthy later? Packaged or non-packaged food? Canned or fresh food?

Can we grow the foods we would like to eat? What is required to grow tomatoes? How much food do we think we'll need? How much soil, water, time? How many seeds per pot? Planted at what distance? There is always room for improvement in minimizing waste.

I'm far from the idea that 4 pots will allow me to sustain myself. Growth is simply too slow to matter, especially without the use of added chemicals. But this just means that we need to appreciate every bite even more and actively seek clinical information what it contains.

Although the return on investment on clean soil would seem low initially, I'm sure that in the long term it can pay off. Soil and sun work always—even when our thoughts are orbiting. We get closer to the food we produce by getting in touch with it and by evaluating how much time the next bite will cost us. Returning to our roots is not only a good idea, but it can also be a good business model. The company Hampton Creek Foods doesn't sell eggs like everyone else, but the experience of seeing the animal producers in the farm and picking the eggs directly from the ground. Seeing in which conditions the animals are kept and fed allows everyone to make their own choice. Giving the context determines the true value of the food. Then it doesn't matter that good eggs cost a bit more.

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