In 2020 when our world was gripped with craziness, I got the message to start a garden. Over the years, I have learned to listen and follow these messages, some of them have saved my life. I was planning on putting in raised beds but decided to skip that expensive step and just pursue an in-ground garden. I weeded for a couple of weeks trying to leave enough flowering clover for the bees that were really enjoying them. With a lot of hard work, I got a garden planted. I had more failures than successes but that was alright. I was learning and it was all just a big experiment. Now I see the advantage to having a few gardens under my belt.

Have you noticed the price of food lately? I could sense this would happen. It is of vital importance that we all start growing food. Real, healthy fruits and vegetables, maybe some chickens too. I am here to tell you it is doable with not that much. A few packets of seeds, some compost, and some elbow grease. Rip out those lawns and plant a garden. Not only will it be so fabulous to stretch your food dollar for what you can’t grow, but you will also taste the incredible flavors and freshness of produce straight out of your garden. Now that I have grown my own food, I realize how old the produce is in our markets. I wonder about the nutritional value of it. My green onions are deep green and have a wonderful aroma of onion. There is a spring to the leaves and a snap to them when they are cut and the taste is so much better. I know there is more nutritional value in my freshly grown produce.

When you plant a garden, please be organic. No pesticides or herbicides. There are methods to deal with the bugs or you can do what I did and just plant extra for the critters and the bugs. By keeping your garden organic, you allow a whole ecosystem to happen in your yard. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators will be attracted to your plants and the beautiful flowers that you should plant amongst your vegetables. Marigolds keep some pests at bay, while nasturtiums are beautiful and edible. I have found more birds and lizards in my yard as well. They love to eat the bugs. We are lucky here in Tyler. We have two growing seasons. With a bit of plastic to cover your plants in the depths of winter, you can keep some plants going and have food year-round.

With all of the rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, and emptier shelves, it just seems prudent to grow some of your own food and have some self-reliance. Be responsible for your own welfare and nutritional needs. My grandparents during and after World War 2 had a victory garden. They grew their own food starting in the Depression. I truly hope our economy does not end up there. But knowing you have fresh food to eat outside your door is good for peace of mind as well as a healthy body.

If you are in an apartment or just have a patio you can get a vertical planter like a Greenstalk to grow things. (I have no affiliation with this company. I am just using them as an example.) If you only have a window, you can cut up liter soda bottles by cutting the top third off, poking holes in the bottom of the bottle, and then placing the cut top under the bottom with the lid screwed on tightly – two holes in the sides and some string and you have a hanging planter. Add dirt. Seeds, water, hang. It is that simple.

If you have space, plant fruit or nut trees. Blueberry bushes, raspberries, and blackberries will grow here as well. I really enjoyed my figs this year. There are flocks of birds that enjoyed them too. I am looking forward to persimmons next. Get those seeds now and start planting!

By Stephanie Barnett

Stephanie Barnett is an artist and a conscious creative creator.She delights in gardens, animals, cooking and the endless possibilities of life.You can visit her artwork website at