I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way. I do not have a green thumb. Never have. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy pokin’ around in the garden sometimes. My husband loves to garden; I’m pretty content just pokin’ around.
Now, this is our first spring back in the states after spending the past three years in Ecuador, so we are starting the garden from scratch. New house, new yard, new garden. And while my husband seemed to easily slip back into his gardening shoes, I’ll admit it wasn’t so easy for me. Here are a few things I had to relearn.
Garden Prep Is Not Easy
Now, to be fair, I didn’t have much to do with this stage of the process. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s early efforts at preparing the garden space there would be no garden. I certainly wouldn’t have done it. I mean, we have an Aldi’s a half mile from our house.
This is what I observed during this prep stage: elaborate hand-drawn plans, soil tilled, raised beds built out of recycled deck lumber (after tearing down old deck, of course), dirt hauled in, soil mixed, holes dug for posts, deer netting wrapped around said posts, rabbit barrier secured around bottom of deer fence, compost bin constructed.
Did I mention we have an Aldi right down the street?
Gloves Are a Necessity
There is a good reason garden centers have a bazillion different types of gardening gloves. Come to find out, gloves are absolutely necessary.
Becuase I don’t want to ever waste another thirty minutes of my life scraping black dirt out from underneath my fingernails and cuticles ever again. That’s a half hour of my life, people! And I have a feeling it wasn’t all dirt, if you know what I mean.
Bugs Still Love Me
Bugs have always loved my particular flavor of human, but living at over 8,200 feet the last three years meant I could walk outside at any time of the year and not be attacked by a rogue band of mosquitos. What a great memory.
Flash forward to this spring and what do you see? Yours truly trying to keep gnats out of my mouth and mosquitos off my neck and ankles while trying to plant the basil plants. Not a pretty picture. I know. I was there.
ROI Is Horrible
Let’s face it. You do not save money planting your own food. You need soil conditioner, fertilizer, plants, seeds, tools, wheelbarrow, gloves, fencing, hoses, water, pest deterrents, sunscreen, hats. And I need bug spray. It goes on and on.
No, you do not save by having a garden. So why garden in the first place?
That brings me to the last thing I relearned while planting the garden this year…
IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT!
You plant a garden because it’s the only real way you can control what’s on your food.
You plant a garden because nothing beats digging in the dirt beside the person you love with the sun smiling down on you.
You plant a garden because hearing the birds reminds you what it feels like to sing with happy abandon.
You plant a garden because you can be untethered from your devices and not miss them. Not. One. Tiny. Bit.
You plant a garden because the tomatoes taste better than any you could ever purchase in a store.
You plant a garden because being able to observe the cycle of life in such a short span of time is a sobering privilege.
Having to relearn some things is often not a bad way to spend your time. And after relearning a few things about gardening I have a feeling I’ll be doing a little more than pokin’ around this year.
How about you? Do you garden? If so, I’d love to hear what you ‘dig’ about it!
K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two cats.
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