Someone asked me: What if you would have to move now? This was with reference to the vegetable garden, to which I have devoted many, many hours of hard labor and a whole lot more of research, hopes and dreams. My answer was: It would be no problem. Really? You could leave all of this behind?
What would I be leaving behind? A half acre of land, some well-tended topsoil and some raised beds, and a fence. Possibly a season’s harvest.
What would I be taking with me? The knowledge of what vegetables, herbs and flowers are available for my region, where to buy them, how to sow them and tend to the seedlings, how to amend soils and dig beds, how to compost, how to space vegetables, plant companions, water them and wage war on bad bugs and weeds. What tools are needed (surprisingly few). Knowledge of the path of the sun in the seasons. Of the functions of the soil horizons. Of the fact that organic materials don’t “break down”, no: they are broken down, by fungi and bacteria and little critters. That chipmunks dig holes in the beds, deep ones. That it’s okay if a couple of bean seedlings are eaten by an entity unknown: pull and reseed. That it’s good fun, “tucking in” seeds here and there. All that, and also a fitter body, more physical endurance, and above all a happier spirit for my entire family.
That’s what it means to be self-sustainable: to have skills and knowledge that can travel with me anywhere.