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Watered Down Vegetables

August 4, 2021

Dill and pumpkins

My lovely wife and I plant a garden every year. But, we are not very effective gardeners. We pretty much only consistently get dill and pumpkins. The dill we plant (along with a bunch of other herbs and spices.) But, for whatever reason the dill seems to be the only thing that comes up. Dill is surprisingly expensive. We’ve dried several pounds over the years. It’s been enjoyable to share our excess with someone trying to can pickles.

We also get pumpkins. And while we plant a few, mostly we get volunteers. We use the pumpkins in the fall to decorate for Halloween. When the holiday is over we toss the old pumpkins into the garden. We get lots of volunteers the next Spring.

Last fall I was making some improvements around my property. I took dirt from the garden to fill in some low spots. Then, in the spring, I had pumpkins throughout my lawn as well. The water that the lawn gets is more than enough for the pumpkins.

Everything else we plant just seems to struggle. We get a few volunteer sunflowers, but they aren’t big enough actually get any edible seeds from them. We probably don’t water them enough.

Utah’s in the middle of a drought. It’s been a horrible one. Most of the water goes to agriculture and business. But, one of the few areas that we can actually affect the usage is residential. The water we put on our gardens and lawns.

The state has asked us to allow our lawns to go dormant during the heat of the summer. There are plenty of brown lawns around my little town. In fact, if you lawn is TOO green, the neighbors look a little sideways at you.

There’s a type of landscaping called xenoscaping.

XENOSCAPING: The process of landscaping, or gardening, that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation.

You’d think xenoscaping would be very popular in Utah. Especially during a drought. After all, no need to mow or trim. And even though here in Pleasant Grove, we don’t pay extra for secondary water, it’s a good thing to do save water.

So, why don’t we have a huge move to xenoscaping?

Did you know that grocery stores are racist? Well, not exactly racist, but grocery stores play a significant role in the poor health of many poor, and black neighborhoods.

Do you know how much a head of lettuce costs? Let’s say it’s about $2.

And apples? Maybe $1 per pound.

So, for $4 I can buy a head of lettuce and some apples. Do you know what else you can buy for $4? An entire meal at a fast food restaurant.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you. Everyone knows that. But, they are also expensive. Any mom can tell you that. Grocery stores in poor areas typically don’t carry a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. So, even poor people who WANT to eat healthy, often can’t. That affects their health.

What does this have to do with landscaping? I would love to xenoscape part of my yard. I’d like to do it to most of my yard, except in the fenced back where my grandchildren play.

So, why don’t I? They same reason poor people don’t eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s more expensive to “do the right thing” than it is to keep doing the wrong thing. So, I’ll keep pushing water on my lawn, and on my garden. I’ll dream about a landscape of native plants, rocks and dirt.

It’s just cheaper.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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