I love gardening for many reasons, some are probably the same reasons that many people love sticking their hands in the earth. Yes, there is something quite wonderful about walking outside and plucking fruits and vegetables from a plot of land that you have worked with and in some sense bonded with in a peaceful way. So many people spend quiet and alone time thinking about all sorts of things and people. Many questions are answered that have little to do with the earth or the plants beneath one’s hands. It is a time when inspiration and intuition can surface, perhaps largely because it is quiet time, time away from busy lives. No wonder, solutions can and are born.
It is an amazing feeling watching plants grow from little seeds. I wish the plants well as I place them in the ground, knowing that not all will survive. Who makes it and who doesn’t is not always predictable. Many farmers/growers complain that changes in the climate make predicting and growing more difficult. I personally have planted vegetables, such as kale, at the “wrong” time of year and have had success. I have also watched cucumbers do well one year and then be stricken by some bug and disappear very quickly to my great disappointment as I had great plans for them!
A couple of years ago, I decided to start planting seeds instead of using plants because enough gardeners had told me that starting plants from seeds is not only less expensive but also very satisfying as it allows gardeners to observe the whole growing process from the initial stages to picking the harvest. I particularly love the process and was not inspired by the cost factor. Saving money is not a motivation because there is something precious and special about watching a baby plant pop out of the soil looking for soil and water and perhaps a friendly face, human or otherwise. Watching and nurturing small plants from the beginning stages of placing a few seeds in containers and then transplanting them into the ground is a beautiful process.
I read before planting each year, knowing full well that even experts are always learning. It is humbling to know that the answers may well be in the soil and in the air above us and humans can never truly know everything. Recently, while reading a gardening blog, I was struck by something the blogger said. If gardeners want advice and wisdom from others who grow plants, vegetables and fruits, consult with people who have killed many plants. On the surface of it, one might cringe at hearing the word “killed.” On second thought, or after giving it more thought, a gentler way of saying the same thing is to say that looking for growers who have tried various techniques and made lots of mistakes. I remember this as I plant seeds and watch them grow in the pots before they will find a new home in the ground. Sometimes I find myself wondering which of these will survive.
I recently struggled with growing carrots. It took me three attempts before I saw the little tops break through the ground. It was exciting. Finally, I learned how to plant the seeds not too deeply so that they receive the water from the ground. The carrots were delicious. There were the last few that perhaps were left too long in the soil. I have never seen carrots that large, so knotty, so unique that I wanted to give them a name. Surely that they had a personality of their own!