Friday, May 15, 2015

A Gardener's Soul

After my sustainable eating posts, I got a number of emails about growing food, among which were folks who said they viewed gardening & growing food as a necessary evil, a chore. What a shame. I don't think I'd be gardening if it was just a chore to be accomplished. No, I'm glad I've got a farmer's soul, actually a raging, rabid desire to till the earth and grow things. I get a lot of pleasure from gardening. I'm happy when seeds sprout. I get extreme pleasure out of seeing plants grow. 
 (A small taro patch.) 

Gardeners yearn for spring. Or they dream of living someplace where they can garden year around. During down times they pour over seed catalogs and create their dream garden. During the growing season they willingly put in sweaty work, then nurse sore muscles only to go do it again and again. They tend. They feed. They water. The start seeds indoors. And they love to discuss the pros and cons of various potting mixes, fertilizers, and vegetable varieties. And they long for that first tomato of the season. Yup, that all sounds like me. 
(Freshly dug Hawaiian sweet potatoes.)

In regions with winters, a gardener's soul will pace like a caged tiger waiting for the ground to thaw. They know not only which USDA growing region they are in, but also the last frost date. Come spring, they are rearing to go. When out sharing a dinner with friends, heaven help us if someone starts talking about gardening. Dinner conversation will quickly deteriorate to discussions like...
...which is better, horse manure or chicken manure productive a particular worm bin can be
...where's the best place to buy blood meal this year you drop plucked bugs into a can of soapy water vs. squashing them with your fingers
Non-gardening diners may quickly lose their appetites. 
(Bountiful harvests.)

Today I offered a non-gardening person a green bean right off the plant. I could see the hesitation. Uuuhhh, raw? Uuuuuhh, unwashed, non-sanitized? I greedily munched a few I plucked, whereupon he gingerly tried his. Then I saw a real transformation....then a smile. He was surprised how juicy and sweet it was. Before long we were talking about how to grow green beans and he left my place with a cupful of bean seed. Perhaps I witnessed the birth of a gardener. Now wouldn't that be nice! 


  1. Due to age and health issues, I can't garden the way I used to or would like to...but no matter what, I still plant and grow a few edibles (as well as some purely ornamental flowers) just because my heart sings when I see something I planted grow and love to harvest and decide how I will cook or prepare them. I was born in a city but will always be a country girl at heart...

    1. Sonia, I can't work the way I use to 10 years ago. So I just take more breaks and go a bit slower. My mother was still interested in gardening up until she was 92, so I hope that I keep my interest as long as she did!

    2. Sonia, have you ever heard of straw bale gardening? It works really well for people who can't bend over and such like. Google it. I have successfully straw bale gardened. I even blogged about my experience in Cappers Farmer. Maybe this could help you enjoy gardening again?

    3. Straw is quite expensive here because it is imported from the mainland. Thus straw bale gardening isn't popular here.