I am a terrible gardener but, infrequently, I will be able to pull something up from the ground a few months after I planted it and eat it. That’s an amazing feeling.
We use the word grounding to talk about the times in life when we feel stable and situated, and gardening is a grounding and patience-building practice for me. There’s something to be said about putting in hours of labor knowing that you will not be able to eat that tiny carrot for a month or two (if it grows at all), and that it will be 50-65 days before you can spit any seeds out of your little watermelon. And chances are your broccoli will just not grow but you will water it anyway.
You can’t garden if you’re not committed to a place and connected to the earth around you. You can’t garden if you don’t have enough margin in your life to get your fingernails dirty and notice that, since the ladybugs made a home on a neighboring plant, the aphids haven’t been devouring your bok choy.
Wendell Berry writes this:
The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.
Here’s what I planted:
- After weeding the garden plot and turning the soil, I left some of our resilient green onions and rainbow chard from seasons past in the ground to see how they’ll do this year.
- Pickling cucumbers which should sprout in the next week or two and be ready to pickle in two months.
- Easter Egg Radishes which should sprout in the next week or two and be ready to harvest in a month.
- Cal Dulce Watermelon which should sprout in the next week or two and be ready to eat in 3 months!
- A whole pallet planter dedicated to lettuces. I planted four varieties (Oakleaf, Simpson, Red Romaine, and Bibb Butterhead) which should sprout in 2-3 weeks and be ready to pick for salads in 40-60 days.
- Some new succulents in an old cinder block I found in the corner of our garden.
- I sowed a bunch of Mission Bell California Poppy seeds for a splash of color in a half-buried a wooden crate.
- Giant autumn sunflowers in our front yard (because Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne are correct that the most boring front yard is one with grass and rosebushes…which is a perfectly boring description of our current front yard)