In the gardening world, there are a lot of secrets. Stories and theories about the biggest, the best or the greatest quantity run rampant. Secrets some refuse to share for fear they will loose their growing prowess.
On the flip side, many people I talk to tell me they just don’t have a green thumb. They can never get certain things to grow. They are frustrated and find it easier to just buy their produce rather than grow it.
In the late 70’s-early 80’s, I remember frequently riding in my dad’s orange pick-up truck (aptly named the Great Pumpkin) to 12th Street in Ogden, Utah. This 15 minute trip was taken several times a week as my dad was helping Vietnamese refugees with a garden.
He helped get the use of the land donated, access to water secured and even had it plowed to make planting easier. Checking it often to ensure adequate water to help the garden grow, we grumbled...a lot.
As a young child, I didn't understand the power of a garden.
This simple plot of unused, undeveloped land enabled the refugees a place to grow vegetables that they were familiar with...homegrown love they had grown on farms and gardens in soil on the other side of the globe.
As they worked in that garden, I remember hearing the people chatter and laugh. In their broken English they would ask my dad questions and were very gracious to him. Gardening on that plot of land was better than therapy or emersion courses.
It allowed the refugees the opportunity to socialize with people from their country; easing homesickness while trying to plant roots in a foreign country. At a very basic level the garden provided nourishment at a time when employment, housing and futures were uncertain.
Perhaps it’s easy to forget how good food, grown in healthy soil can mean more than calories and one less trip to the grocery store. Good healthy food grown in soil amended with compost, planted with thought and timing, and nourishing seedlings with 5 gallon buckets of grey water something really special.
Food is used to comfort and celebrate and ease physical hunger. Food can also strengthen our bodies after a course of antibiotics and a sinus infection or heaven forbid after being demolished by harshness of chemotherapy.
When a simple, humble bag of peas picked fresh from the garden are shared with friends we know are facing challenges something magical happens. Those heavenly orbs of goodness not only provide protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, they connect people to each other.
The biggest secret from the garden is not just the magical way a seedling will sprout, force the exterior shell to pop and fight its way to the surface to be fueled by the Sun. The biggest secret in the garden is being able to nourish and cherish the connection we have with each other.
Horticulture, Master Gardener status or lack or green thumbs it matters not. The secret is easy.
Add good stuff to your dirt and you’ll get even better stuff back. Share the good stuff and what you get back will be cherished connections. The power of a garden is holy.
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