Organic Gardening In A Concrete Jungle

A year and a half ago, the FOB (Father of My Babies) had a death scare. He was living the unhealthiest lifestyle — late nights, chain smoking, lots of alcohol, skipped meals, no exercise and long hours of sitting for his work. So while we had absolutely no idea about the state of his health, it wasn’t really a huge surprise for us when we had to run to the ER because his blood pressure was shooting through the roof.

What shocked me was his response to this health crisis. I thought he would go all macho about it, you know — refrain from seeing the doctor, sneer at his meds and continue with his old ways. Hate to admit it, but I was wrong. What our little family witnessed was a complete turnaround.

He quit smoking cold turkey. He dropped his drinking buddies. He started waking up unbelievably early to run laps around the neighborhood mall. Most of all, he, lover of grilled cow lungs, eater of chewy porkchop fat and slurper of bone marrow and duck fetus, eliminated meat and fatty foods from his diet with relish. His daily routine: Go to the market after his morning run, buy some fresh coconut juice, fruit and veggies, and cook the simplest and healthiest meals we have ever shared since we got together in ’96 (or during the first and last Sonic Youth concert in our humble city, to be more specific).

At first, I thought it wouldn’t last long. I secretly suspected that the sudden hypertension simply screwed up his brain chemicals, so he was just like suffering from temporary insanity (Ha!). I was merely counting the days until he goes back to his “old self.” But then the days turned to weeks, to months, to almost two years now. He’s still at it.

Instead of mellowing down, he seemed to become even more committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, aside from eating vegetables, he also started growing them. His method: organic gardening. His garden: our tiny urban apartment’s.

What we learned: You don’t need a sprawling lawn to grow your own food. The important thing is to work with fertile soil. (The only time we worked with soil was with the clay I played with during my pottery classes and the clay we used to sculpt the pipes we sold in a music bar, so The Smiling Gardener guide was a good resource about soil nourishment). Birds are genius and amoral about stealing your harvest. And oh, we really dig pot gardening. Pot as in container. You can use just one pot, around the size of 7 liters is ideal, to grow a lovely herb garden with basil, thyme and sage.

Who knew, right? Life really is full of ridiculous surprises. So yes, the title is so obviously and cheekily metaphorical. FOB turning into a health buff = organic gardening in an urban jungle.

No excuse to not start your garden now. Visit: http://www.smilinggardener.com/.

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