Garden Poetry contest: Why do you grow food?

You till the soil, put a seed in the ground and nurture it as it grows. You rush out after work or school to check its vitals: Too much sun today? Water it! Hornworms invading? Crush them!

You compost and mulch and prune and fertilize until you’ve grown something very real — and very edible. But why? To save money? To ensure your food is fresh and local? To feel at one with nature?

Search your gardening soul for an answer, then tell me your reasons for growing crops, be they fruits, vegetables or herbs. The catch? You must set your reasoning to poetry — limerick, haiku, couplet, narrative or free verse; it’s up to you. Just keep poems to a maximum of seven lines.

The best submissions will be published in Newsday and on Newsday.com, and my favorite will get a Livi Pot and a copy of “The 20-30 Something Gardening Guide,” by Dee Nash (both reviewed in this gardening issue) as a gift in the mail.

Email your original poem, along with your full name, mailing address and phone number to jessica.damiano@newsday.com, with Garden Poetry in the subject line, or send it by mail to:

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Jessica Damiano, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY, 11747.

Submissions must be received by 12:01 a.m. May 22.