Dr. Gary Bachman headshot
By Dr. Gary Bachman
February 2023

Why gardening is still important.

Growing your own plants from seed is one way to keep gardeners busy before they can actually get outside.

Most gardeners start planning their flower and vegetable gardens after the first of the year. This makes sense, as cabin fever from the winter months is compounded by a case of gardening fever due to the appearance of garden catalogs.

But it wasn’t always like this. Gardening came about as a matter necessity; in fact, gardening can take credit for the development of our society today.

When you look at the development of human culture, having a garden was a pretty big deal and was a driver in us becoming civilized. It’s generally recognized that about 12,000 years ago, humans were hunter/gatherers following their next meal.

But right about this time period, Atouk — who was portrayed by Ringo Starr in the 1981 comedy film, “Caveman” — discovered that with the domestication of plants and animals, he and his family could live in one place. Agriculture was “discovered,” and it would provide a consistent food source and put an end to the constant wandering.

I’m sure that bragging about the best-tasting tomato started shortly after.

Seed catalogs allow gardeners to pick exactly what kind of plants they want to grow in their next garden.

Evidence of the importance of having gardens dates back to the Egyptian Pharaohs and is documented in the elaborate tomb paintings they made of the gardens of their various kingdoms.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. These gardens were said to have been built on terraces and were probably the first raised garden beds, a style of gardening still practiced today.

The story goes that King Nebuchadnezzar had the gardens built for his wife. Many modern gardeners — myself included — grow flowers and vegetables because our spouses like them.

Fast forward to gardening today. My gardening friends know I have quite the home vegetable garden. I really enjoy the taste of homegrown vegetables. I start at the very beginning with starting my own seeds.

hands wearing gardening gloves planting in garden outsideI pore over the catalogs that are already stacking up, selecting new varieties to try in 2023. With all the seed and plants we have available today, I kind of feel sorry for Atouk’s struggle. There is a bit of satisfaction in knowing that a home garden can produce good, nutritious food.

One crop I grow for my wife are fresh, heirloom tomatoes. She loves them and she loves me for growing them for her, even though I really don’t like fresh tomatoes.

Thank goodness we don’t have to rely on our gardens for everyday survival today, though some of you know how Katie and I are prepping for the zombie apocalypse.

I’m encouraged that because of COVID, we have up to 20 million new gardeners enjoying their very own gardens. Gardening helps to build community, self-confidence, and reliability.

So, get those seeds ordered and have a great garden this year.

Category: Southern Gardening

Get The Latest Edition