Wednesday, April 1, 2009

farmer sky

Somehow, over the last couple months, I've found that I'm spending over half my time either gardening or organizing gardening work. I've never gardened before, not seriously anyway, just bits of time helping out here and there.

I didn't start gardening because I was especially interested in it. I started because I think food is important, and increasingly so given the economic and ecological situation we find ourselves in on our cozy little planet. And, I started because Alexis offered use what amounts to a part-time job, lowering our food and housing costs to $200/month each.

Fortunately, I've found that I like it! I look fwd to the mornings when I know I'm going to be out in the garden. In the last couple months I've probably dug up 12 square yards of wire grass, and found it very satisfying. I've learned about double-digging, the basic concepts of soil health, and companion planting (what plants grow well interspersed amongst each other). I like keeping a closer watch on weather patterns, and watching how plant growth is accelerating as the weather warms.

I started out with this fear that nothing I would plant would actually grow. When those first kale seedlings started coming up, it felt like a miracle. A couple weeks ago I built a second shelf in the Woodfolk living room to accommodate all the trays of seedlings at various stages of growth.

It seems like people think that you need to know something about gardening before you start. This is certainly helpful, but not necessary, as we've been finding. Given the land, the tools, an abundance of advice, and a laid-back boss, a lot is possible. I think it's also true that I've passively absorbed a lot of information being around intensive gardening for so much of my life. But really, the most important thing is just a belief that I can do it, and that I will learn what I need to learn in the process.

I've found gardening similar to facilitating group process in that way. You can go to workshops, read books, get lots of advice, but in the end, you have to just go for it. Okay, maybe it's more than that. You have to have a willingness to try things, make mistakes, acknowledge them, and learn from them. You have to have an awareness of how your actions impact those around you (be they humanoid or plant life). You have to have an attitude of service, of stewardship.

In the end, the qualities of nurturing health and life apply to all sorts of areas, and it's gratifying to see that as I get older I am in fact learning something about how to live life well.


Dark Heat said...

Oh wow! You're starting to GARDEN!! My sister and I are so proud of you!!!! (being that we both work at nursery's right now)
Good luck, and if you have any gardening questions, I'll field them to my sister (I'm the flower-hacker, she's the flower-grower).

Lauren said...

I read a book you might find interesting. It's called "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan. It got me more interested in gardening. He associates various plants he has grown in his own garden with various human desires. It's pretty interesting. Good luck with your farm.

~Cousin Lauren

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