Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
— May Sarton
It’s hard to imagine that in March my garden was seven big wood boxes full of brown soil, a blank canvas so to speak. Now it’s a tangle of vines and plants that spill over those same boxes. There are five varieties of bushy tomato plants, at least as tall as me. The bean teepee, full of romano beans, towers over six feet tall. There is kale, chard, dill, hot peppers, onions, cucumbers, basil, zucchini, strawberries, beets, cardoons, sunflowers, and marigolds. Two of the beds are now empty, the garlic being harvested earlier in July. The peas have died back and the lettuce and arugula have gone to seed.
Planting a garden is a statement of hope, sowing seeds that bear the promise of food and flower.
Planting a garden is a creative act, painting with a palette of plants, considering what varieties will complement the other, then executing the plan with hoe and shovel instead of a brush.
Planting a garden is work. The soil must be amended, supports constructed, seeds and starts planted. Then the beds must be mulched, watered, weeded and then harvested. But then the payoff is the abundance of delicious fresh food it provides for the rest of the summer.
Planting a garden is an alchemy of human interaction with natural processes.
A garden does not need to be big or complicated. Even a couple of tomato plants on the porch or herbs on the window sill is better than nothing. It’s gratifying to tend plants and watch them grow. For children, it’s an especially enriching experience. To be able to feed oneself and share the bounty with others is powerful. Gardening is an anchor to the Earth. You don’t get that from a grocery store.