What I like about KGI--and their newsletter--is that it's a nice combination of idealism and practicality. On their site, they include thoughtful moral arguments for eating locally alongside forum posts about how to construct raised beds, which tomato varieties are best, the basics of seed saving, etc. I think that they would approve of edibles used in the garden in an ornamental way, like my black elderberry underplanted with silver sage, as well:
On the practical side, last week's main newsletter article (from a forum post by Roger Doiron) about the Economics of Home Gardening really got me thinking. Here's an excerpt:
"Has anyone ever kept track of what their garden produced in a given year and the calculated the economic value of their harvest? My wife and I did this year and calculated that the net economic value (not the health, environmental, gastronomic, psychological, or social value) was roughly $2150. Here's the data:"
(Note: I took the liberty of shortening this little spreadsheet for purposes of posting it here... hence the fade-to-white area where I cut out the middle. You can see the whole thing on the original post if you'd like.)
Realistically speaking, there is really NO WAY that I would ever be able to come up with a spreadsheet like the one Roger and his wife Jacqueline did. For one thing, I'm simply not disciplined enough... I never managed to maintain a proper garden journal before I started the blog, for example. (For another example of my lack of discipline, look behind the rosette of new foliage on my 'Hab Gray' sedum, below... that's a cabbage AND a kohlrabi that I never cleaned up in the fall. Sheesh!)
For another thing, the thought of having to weigh and catalog every little thing that my garden produces kind of chafes at my inner hedonist. It just seems wrong to have to bring a handful of blackberries inside to weigh and record them before I can eat them. Seems that time would be better spent enjoying the way each sun-warmed berry kind of burst into flavor on my tongue as I wander around the yard... especially since the blackberry is in the far corner of the yard, next to the 'Bing' cherry and new grape arbor:
Also, I know that Roger included some caveats about what he was not measuring with his spreadsheet, but my concerns go beyond that. I really would struggle with the scientific-ness (is that even a word?! lol) of comparing the "value" of my garden tomatoes to those you can buy at the store. I'm not talking about the difference in quality, taste and selection, either... I'm talking about the fact that I simply would NOT buy watery, flavorless grocery store tomatoes at all, so it seems unfair to compare what I spent on my tomato seeds to the cost of something I wouldn't even purchase.
But... I really like that Roger did the number crunching, and that it's getting people talking! So next time, can we see a newsletter about growing edibles and ornamentals together? I mean... I can't be the only crazy girl who is growing her garlic under a generous dressing of compost, birdseed (oops--the feeder is above) and red sedum, can I?
And if other people knew that a veggie garden could be this decorative, maybe they would plant a few more rows... A girl can hope, right?! :)