Hello folks, I am Oleg Leontovych, welcome to GARDENHOWTO.com !!!
I grew up in Ukrainian family where the food was mostly derived from the garden. It was ingrained in our minds that one must grow their own vegetables even when there is no danger of hunger. Year after year, every family was programmed to get ready to sow in the spring, fight off pests to get the best crops during the summertime, harvest in the fall and conserve for the winter by canning, preserving and freezing.
Back then, I did not ever think nor ask "Why don’t buy the veggies from the store or the farmers market?" Instead, I have learned to appreciate every vegetable, even if it was a little bit rotten. I enjoyed every picked apple even if a worm has taken a bite from it. Come to think of it, there is no better proof that shows that a fruit or vegetable is grown naturally than when a worm has left a mark on it!!! (link to the blog post on how to watch what nature tells you)
My parents did not insist on me working in a garden daily, so gardening was not a burden or an obligation. As you can imagine, my love for the garden was ever present in my genes!
In my youth, I was not very active in any types of sports, I used to get my exercise from climbing the trees (or the fences) to reach the ready to be picked fruit or cut the branch that has to be pruned and it was good enough for me to stay fit. So gardening for me wasn't just about growing food, it's great exercise and it has many therapeutic benefits. (link to the future blog post on physical benefits of the gardening)
Now, if you’d ask me what I liked to do best in the garden, it would be pruning the trees and shrubs, as well as the seemingly strenuous process of gathering berries from the bushes! Why? Well, that’s where that attention to details skill gets put to great use.
But the most boring and unpleasant job for me really was to plant and bury out potatoes (link to the post on how to grow potatoes with a pleasure). I did not enjoy that process at all!!! :)
You see, what bothered me in growing potatoes was that they required pretty high maintenance.
Traditionally it was kind of assumed in Ukraine, that there is no way to survive without eating the potato every day. Big parcels of land were used to grow this vegetable and people devoted much of their efforts to grow it. They store enough of it for the spring and then plant it. We had to plant it with such tedious care, protect it from annoying pests, gather them, and of course, there were even more appropriate efforts to store it over the winter time.
Honestly, I was quite frustrated to put that much effort into something I felt was inefficient.
Despite my reluctance of growing potatoes, my gardening-loving family helped me realize that anyone can nourish their body with nutritious food that can be naturally grown right at home!
In my experience, growing your food is the best way to connect to it.
So I do not hesitate to eat what I've been growing right in my garden.
For an afternoon snack, would I need some parsley? Maybe an apple? How about some raspberries? Ah! Raw onions dipped in sour cream (My favorite appetizer which I treat like dessert! I know, can you believe it?) sounds like a good idea! (link to the video that shows me eating this delicious meal live!!!
As for the drinks I liked to take a mug and fill it up with the freshly picked fruits and berries. Those would b cherries, currants, strawberries or raspberries, depends on the current season. I washed them right in the mug, drained the water, smashed them into the cocktail and filled remaining space with boiled water. Pro tip: If you can't tolerate acidic flavor of the berries feel free to add sugar (link to the blog post on the delicious berries cocktail)
Besides of staying in the yard, pruning the trees and picking berries, I always liked to set myself free by leaving the house limits, going out of town – into the nearby fields, forests, and watersheds.
Being in the field, I was attached to the plants, grasses, and herbs that grow wild.
I have learned from my grandparents that most of the wild plants carry medicinal properties. My grandfather used to take ride a bike to the nearby forests (about 15 km distance) on a weekend to spend a day there. He foraged for edible mushrooms and brought home full baskets of some plants that grow wild. I was impressed and started to get curious…
I made multiple trips into the forests and fields. I became less fearful and quite comfortable in identifying the good, bad and ugly plants that grow in the wilderness and I want to remove these fears from you too!
There's such a rich history of people using wild plants to cure diseases and heal pains but we are getting brainwashed relying only on artificial remedies suggested by conventional medicine.