3 Lessons Learned from the Garden
This year has been one for the books in so many ways, and it's only half way through! Covid-19 presented us with uncertainty after uncertainty, and now we find ourselves still struggling with that but also neck deep in a worldwide human rights movement. If you spend any time at all on social media or watching the news, you might come away from the experience feeling confused, frustrated, unsure, or all of the above. The Black Lives Matter movement has definitely caused me to think and reflect on the influence that I have on others. One of the places that I do a lot of this thinking is in my back yard garden. As I was sitting there barefoot in the dirt this morning I looked out at my little garden, and this it what came to me.
Three Lessons Learned from the Garden
1. Diversity is the key to maximum success
Have you ever heard of crop rotation? The idea is that if you plant the same crop in the same location year after year, the soil will become quickly depleted. Each year your harvest will be smaller until eventually the soil becomes basically useless. The remedy? Crop rotation! If you planted a leafy vegetable last year, this year you should plant a root vegetable, and the next year maybe a legume. Every type of veggie family takes and in turn supplies the soil with different nutrients. Diversifying what you plant in your garden keeps your soil as healthy as it can be. Healthy soil makes healthy plants, healthy plants give us the best produce.
2. Working together makes the garden grow
I've had this passion fruit vine for over a year, and it has not produced any fruit at all. There have been tons of flowers, but no fruit to speak of. The missing link? Bees! Without bees to help pollinate these beautiful passion flowers, all they do is wither. But as you know, the flowers aren't the only ones benefiting here. The bees need pollen from the flowers to keep their hive going. Together, the plant and the bees both get what they need. Apart, they both can't survive.
3. Don't take on more than you can handle
My favorite part of the garden this season is the pumpkin patch. I planted several different varieties of pumpkins, and every day I love to go out and see what has changed. Last week I was super excited to see a couple new tiny pumpkins starting to grow. They got about an inch in diameter, and then shriveled up. Turns out, each vine can only support one or two pumpkins. They just don't have the nutrients to grow more than that, so instead of trying to grow ten scrawny pumpkins, the plant will put all of it's energy into just a couple and make those the best that it can.
There are so many things we can learn from having a garden- faith, hard work, patience, resilience, constant problem solving skills, and the list goes on- not to mention the benefits of being outside and playing in the dirt. I wish I had one magical answer that could help us all deal with the struggles we face, but I don't. What I do have is a knowledge that we can find the answers we seek as we show love and kindness to ourselves and all those around us.