Friday, March 19, 2010

Relax. Garden. Repeat.

It’s that time of year again. Yeah, I hate the time change too, but it means the vernal equinox is coming and according to the Farmer’s Almanac, at least for our area here in Michigan, the moon is favorable for starting seeds indoors. I’ve already done an article on how to start seeds, so this is more of public service announcement.


People seem to get awful particular about their grass and gardens. Here I think it relates to the short growing season. Dad saw someone mowing lawn two days ago! Hello, people, it’s March. No sun, no glass. That simple. The 50-plus degree mark gets people crazy this time of year. Anyway, my point is, if your garden does turn out like you want it to, so what? Is it really the end of the world if your row of peas isn’t straight north and south? Or east and west? Or something resembling a line at all? Of course not.

Gardening teaches us how to bend, not just at the knees, but inside. If I had to have a perfectly neat garden, I’d be miserable. The pressure would be too much. If I had to keep it perfectly weeded, perfectly manicured, perfectly perfect, I’d probably need to be put in a farmer’s insane asylum somewhere where I could play with toy tractors and plant pretend corn on the sofa cushions. Forgoing any expectation of perfect and aspiring to happy, healthy plants frees me and allows me to sit back and enjoy the time I spend in the garden, talking to the plants and soaking up the sun.

So if you can’t be happy without a perfect garden, I’m sorry. Go to it and may the force be with you. But if you’re ready to dig in and be messy, worry less about perfection and more about production. My garden is a working garden. It produces much of the produce we need for the year. Is it neat? Fairly. I mean, we keep all the potatoes with the other potatoes and all the squashes together. Is it manicured? Hell no. I got cucs reaching out to touch the lawn mower and chickens circling the fence looking for garden scraps. But it produces for us. We take care of the soil and the plants, treating them with fertilizer and water, a kind word here and there, and they, in turn, take care of us. It’s a give and take.

Learn to bend, to work with, not against, the world around you. Learn to garden.