I bought a house when I was 23 years old. It's a house with still a lot of work and the garden was barely maintained. I never wanted to do a lot of work on it, so I just let it go wild. This changed a couple of years ago. A lot of nettles and carduus started to grow. I typically just cut down everything twice a years, but after a while they started to overtake my garden too much. It must've been April or May 2018 when I decided to pull them out. I decided to pull out netles and carduus by hand for at least 15 minutes every day after work. This seemed like an impossible task to complete, but I decided to just try and see how far I got. I made sure to get out as much of the roots as possible, even though I feared this wouldn't actually help much. The 15 minutes minimum a day were really more a way to force myself to get started, because I often spend more than an hour a day. By summer the biggest part of the nettles and carduus were gone, it seems that the unsurmountable task was possible to accomplish after all! At the end I started to get a bit nonchalant and didn't pull the roots any more. The next year, most of where the nettles grew didn't have any any more, or at least only very few. The only exception was where I was nonchalant and kept the roots. Turns out that my choice of also pulling the roots out was a good choice after all. When doing this, I threw everything I pulled out on a heap and cleaned up other parts of my garden as well. I now had a heap where garden waste could compost to soil and a wild garden full of life.
The next year in early spring (or, technically, still winter even) I saw some seeds for sale in the supermarked. I didn't know much about growing stuff, but it's something I wanted to do for a long time. I bought the seeds and I bought a small bag of soil to start experimenting. In the past when reading online about growing stuff, I often read about what soil you should use and, honestly, this was very frustrating and off-putting to me. I sometimes hear how tech people in the free software world make things complicated and therefore unaccesable. Well, let me tell you that this isn't a free software specific thing. I often read about what soil should be used for what and "don't worry, you can find it everywhere/in every garden center". Look, if I open my microwave and the soil you describe isn't there, then I can't find it everywhere, now can I! The thruth is that all of that is overblown. I don't want to be dependend on buying soil from some big store, I just want to grow food. Food has been growing since before stores, and even humans, were a thing, so it can't be that complicated, now can it?
The seeds I bought were radishes because the package said it is easy to grow and good to start with. They are also small and don't grow deep in the ground like carrots do, so this seemed like a good choice. The soil I bought was just the first bag I saw, if it's good enough to put some plant in, it should be good enough for radishes. When home, I put some of the soil in a plastic 2,5L icecream box and put some of the seeds about 2cm deep as the package described. I put the box at the window and waited while giving it some water from time to time. A while later, as by magic, I was able to eat my first self-grown radish! I also left some radishes in the box just to see what would happen with them. My hope was to eventually get seeds, but I had no idea how difficult or easy it is to get that. Suddenly my radishes started to grow small flowers. Huh, who knew radishes could grow flowers, right?! I put them outside in the hope they'd get pollinated and waited to see when I was gonna get seeds. After a while the flowers were gone and there were now pods in place. Turns out this is where the seeds grow. I honestly expected the seeds to grow in the thing you eat. Shows how much I know about these things, huh 😬 Every now and then I cracked open a pod to see how it looked. After a while some pods had bursted and seeds fallen out. Sadly enough, many seeds had already sprouted, but luckely I was still able to harvest some of the seeds, and the next year I was even able to grow new radishes from them!
We're now talking 2020, the year of Corona. I have radishes I've grown from seeds I harvested myself and I also tried some other experiments. I got some pieces of herb from one of my sisters and tried growing them by sticking some fresh pieces in soil. It didn't work, the herbs just died without taking root. Well, there was one that did seem to survive for a while, but it died too for some unknown reason. I also tried to get some carrot seeds by putting a cut of piece in water. This also failed. The carrot piece grew some leaves, but died quickly after. I also got some rasperry sticks from sister, these grew very well and I even had a couple of raspberries the same year! The soil I used for this was the soil from the composted nettles. I also tried to grow some apple seeds and I had a pear seed too that I put outside, but I'm unsure if it survived (by now I have another pear seed, so if it didn't survive, I may have another chance, eheh). Another thing I tried was putting patatos in the ground. I put some in my garden, but I have no idea what happened to them, and also one in an old broken bucket. The one in the bucket grew leaves and after a while I poured the content out to see how the patato looked and there were already very small patatos growing! I didn't eat them, I should've been more patient, but it shows that it can work. Garlic is another thing I put in the ground, but I only realised this year, a year later, that it actually worked to grow new garlic from it. Sadly, I killed the garlic by checking it out. Another thing I did was making a compost place for my kitchen waste. It's basically just a piece of fence that I put in the grass close to my kitchen where I now dump my kitchen waste. Again, you can buy stuff from stores for this, but honestly, this is just nature doing it's job, just be creative and it'll work out.
At the time of this writing, we are 2021. I'm still determined to grow my own food. By now I experimented a bit, read a lot online, and have some ideas on how I want to do things. This is the year I really want to get things going. I have soil from the compost places I made, I got some seeds from my sister and from friends, and I bought some others in the same store where I bought the radish seeds. But most importantly, I have an idea on how I want to do things. The ultimate goal is to have a garden that's completely self-sufficient. No need to buy new seeds, no need to buy vegtables any more, no need to buy soil, and with as few maintanance and work as possible. I'm not gonna focus too much on getting seeds this year. If I don't use up all the seeds I have, I can still use them next year and maybe the year after and try to get seeds then. My focus now will be on making more stuff to compost, building the place where I'll grow my food and making sure I have a good sytem for all of this.
One thing I've learned so far is that you sometimes just have to wait when growing food. Right now is such a time. I'll probably be able to get started in may or late april. 'Till then I'll just have to be patient and dream some more about the wonderfull garden I'm building.