Whether a small potted plant or a full landscaped terrain, gardens are a wonderful way to be connected with earth cycles and the life that springs from it. In numerous studies, plants have been found to be aware of people, emotions and their intentions. Our leafy friends react accordingly, like mimosas which curl leaves when touched. Gardens help us feel the power and ground our energy like an electrical circuit.
Understanding the sentient power of plants, the next step is to translate this power into nourishment, not only for the body, but mind and soul as well. There are many people speaking about a victory garden revival including the first family, who have created a plot at The White House. In modern context, planting and harvesting food is not only about providing high quality local food for families, which is significant reason enough. It is also about nurturing our connection with the earth we reside upon. As a society, we spend inordinate amounts of time and energy separating our feet and hands from the soil, covering it with concrete surfaces and crude oil based products as well as keeping a distance with impervious shoe soles and gloves. Gardening is an organic process and should only be attempted using organic methods.
Meditative, relaxing, soothing are some of the words that describe gardening for me. Sure, one can be industrious digging, trenching, tilling, etc and I enjoy doing those things. Essential for me are the plants, like good friends, each one has unique features and personality. In the plot amongst my charge, familiar with each plant as one would be with animal companions. I nourish them and they nurture me in return…my own version of Walden Pond where higher thoughts are natural and each color, every texture and glistening droplets of water are significant and of the moment.
Past the stages of sprouting and flowering, the waves of first harvests are the most exciting. In the spring, it may be tender arugula, chive shoots and spinach. As the season progresses, delicate lettuces, baby Swiss chard and tender young kale add enough flavor to salads to allow for the lightest of dressings used only to frame the green flavors. With the early months of summer, sweet zucchinis that snap with freshness are connected to bright yellow flowers and the first sun-spiced tomatoes start to appear. From this point on, a well planned garden can provide all the necessary vegetables for the next three months. In San Diego, the summer planting can remain productive for an extra two to three months.
I have often said everyone should know how to cook. Historically, it is a significant connection between humanity and the planet we live on. Gardening is an extension of this and was considered part of the cooking process up until recent times. Encouraging victory gardens is a policy that can transform society, putting us in touch with the land we tread upon, the water around us and the sky above. It begins with a thought, whether a romantic or responsible one. Dig the soil, plant a seed, add water. Simple…yet significant.