Friday, July 3, 2015

My Life Like a Garden

Chamomile in the garlic,
lettuce in the onions,
dill in the beets,

and garlic scattered everything. That's what I found outside this morning in my garden. After being away for almost two weeks at a writing workshop, I was finally able to meander through my gardens, coffee cup in hand and check out the state of affairs. Picking garlic scapes I noticed all the sunflowers in the upper garden were nothing but sticks. I guess when you lose your dogs over the winter the deer realize they now have the upper hand of all things edible. Looking at the "where the strawberries should have been" patch I'm reminded that my husband accidentally mowed them, thinking he was helping me with my weeding. As I walked and weeded I thought about those strawberries and how I need to go strawberry picking before the season ends. I wondered, "Is the season over yet?" That's how out of touch I am this year.

Quickly realizing that the entire garden needed weeding I decided to focus on the onion bed. It was still in the shade of the raspberries so I got down on my knees and gave it a go. Two little house wrens didn't like my closeness to an obvious nest so decided to sing to me while I worked. Making mental notes to myself of all the "out of place" items that needed to be pulled I realized that I make that same mental note every year and I never do it. I always continue to let that lettuce grow in the onions and the garlic and chamomile to self sow everywhere. I guess the garden is a reflection of ourselves. Like the thoughts popping in my head the chamomile and calendula just pop up and look pleasing right where they are so there they stay.

Happy 4th of July. It's going to be a beautiful Maine weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How a Garden Teaches Us to be Open

Under an Umbrella in the Pouring Rain Looking at the Tomatoes and Garlic

Rain. Rain does more than replenish the gardens of much needed water or the wells we often take our water from. In the midst of a busy gardening season rain replenishes our souls. The 2015 garden season began extremely late and has been very slow to start. With an incredibly busy and stressful school year the gardens didn't get put in until after school got out. This is a first that the garden is in so late. It wasn't until June 18th that planting began! With that said, some greens, onions, and root crops did manage to get put in early in May. But when school got out on June 16th and I finally had the time and energy to begin planting I turned right around and went back inside after I took one look at what lay ahead of me. A garden totally overgrown with weeds (and raspberries!) and near empty Remay tunnels where rows of lush greens should have been.

I posted on Face Book that I wasn't going to garden this year. It was just to much. Too overwhelming. In my 30+ years of gardening I never felt like that before. So maybe I really did need a year off. I could join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and/or shop at the local farmers markets after all. But like the kids I teach who shut down completely when a new task seems overwhelming I just stepped back and gave it time. I gave myself permission to not do it. And then, son of a gun, two days later I went out again and pulled a weed near a spinach plant. (Yes, it really did take two days to go out again!). With that small action the 2015 garden season began. And I'm so glad it did.

Gardening teaches us so much about life. It teaches us that things never go as you expect but that in the unexpected, joyful and wonderful things can happen. It teaches us that patience is a magnificent. When we are patient, the opportunities we thought couldn't be, blossom. Gardening teaches us to gently nourish the small weak ones because in that nourishment great things can grown. Never give up. Gardening teaches us that too. When we don't give up, something good happens. It may not be what we thought, but if we're open for the possibilities, it may be something new and marvelous; and gardening teaches us that be open to the unexpected.

So, for the past five days a whirlwind of planting and weeding has occurred and in the "openness" that this year's garden is encouraging in me I"m trying a few new things. I'm not planting corn. Instead I'm playing with mulching with leaves from our maple trees. In the spot where corn should have gone is a very thick layer of leaves from last fall. I want to see how well they suppress weeds and if they allow moisture to penetrate when they aren't shredded. Will worms and microbes thrive? Tomatoes are also in another area of thick leaf cover. I just pushed some leaves aside and planted tomatoes. I didn't even put cutworm collars around them. Will they grow? Potatoes weren't planted until June 20th which was the day after FEDCO Seeds posted a question on their FaceBook page that asked, "Do your potato plants have flowers yet?" Holy cow! Mine were't even in yet. When I cut them to prepare for planting many had black edges so I only planted half of what I expected. I am reminding myself to allow the unexpected. Something great may come from this. Maybe I'll get to know my local farmers better as I begin to support them more.

So, Rain. It nourishes the soul. It gave me time today to stop, reflect, and come to these conclusions that feel so much better than the initial feelings of defeat. So go ahead, grab your umbrella and walk in this rain through your garden and then just stop. Stop and look; listen and feel. That is what soul nourishment feels like, at least to me.

Nourish the tiny sage seedlings