My motivation for gardening is similar to what got me into cooking two decades ago. I like good, fresh food, and that's not often easy to find outside my home. I also enjoy following the seasons and tuning in to what's going on around me. And I still delight in popping a sunwarmed cherry tomato into my mouth and sharing a minutes-old salad with a supermarket lettuce-eater.
Organic gardening is a challenge in Hawaii. Decades of intensive monocrop chemical agriculture have nearly destroyed the soil and littered it with black plastic. The year-round growing season is great, but introduced diseases, weeds and insect pests also thrive 24/7. In the veggie garden, I've learned to plant plenty and continuously, harvest early and often and change crops quickly to keep ahead of the forces that prey on my plants. And I'm grateful for whatever I get, because I enjoy the process as much as the product.