It’s been raining for the last half hour so I might as well come in (even in Seattle we mossy-backs eventually have to take cover). At least I got a good start on this year’s garden before yielding to the weather.
Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. Marcelene Cox
My gardening OCD probably started about the age of two when I ‘helped’ my grandfather by following him down the row and pulling up the onion sets he had just planted (resulting in a swift swat on the butt when he turned around and saw my handiwork). Granddad put in a large garden every year that I can remember and my dad always had a garden even if it was in a small strip outside a rented apartment. As for me, I’ve put in a garden every year since our first home, about 35 years now.
Being retired my gardens have become a bit larger than when I was working. This year I’ve planted peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards, carrots, radishes, lettuce, arugula, garlic and onions. And there’s the perennial currants, blueberries, rhubarb, horseradish, plums and apples.
And then there’s the weeds; those plants that have mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. Preparing the soil and planting is getting to be a little hard on my 70 year old back and knees but the hardest part is the waiting. Waiting first for the seeds to sprout then and then waiting for the harvest. Gardening teaches patience and other important lessons.
A gardener connects with his environment in intimate ways. You become more aware of the cycle of life. You can see the interconnection of the roots and the soil, the earthworms and the rain. You notice how each season changes and blends into the next. Even before winter is over trees start to put forth new red buds. And while your harvesting the ripe produce of summer’s warmth, there’s a nip in the evening air and leaves are already falling.
When we sit down to eat we seldom think of the many hands in the many corners of the world that make the food on our plates possible. Growing some of our food our self can make us feel more connected to those who labor on our behalf and can make us feel connected to the earth in a way we may have seldom thought about. If you are the contemplative sort, gardening can be a form of meditation.
On the lighter side, you can consider an old English proverb:
If you would be happy for a week, take a wife; if you would be happy for a month, kill a pig; but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.
The postman just brought my seed potatoes so I’ll put my boots back on and go put them in the ground.