My first day alone at home since my surgery, and I’m trying to figure out what I can do, given my physical limitations. I can’t carry anything, so no grocery shopping (or ahem, shopping in general, for that matter), despite a mostly empty fridge. All big projects are also out the window (I am eyeing another terrace for the vegetable garden).
I can read. I can watch TV. I can write. Oooh–I can email, now that my email’s back up. I open the fridge, and I wonder what to eat. But aha–I can go out the side door and into the vegetable garden and gather my ingredients, too!
A couple months ago, in the wake of awful news, I planted a vegetable garden, long desired but finally greatly needed. In the face of permanent loss, every feeble act pronouncing life becomes a brash announcement. And I just wanted to combat the echo of loss with something, anything. I planted seeds, with a great fervor, my lips sealed tight in a thin line, and my head full of hope.
The seeds sprouted, radishes first, until the garden was dotted with sprinkles of green germination everywhere. And today it is a gorgeous leafy edible jungle.
Watching my garden grow has provided me with so many gifts. The act of nurturing the garden, whether by thinning or transplanting or changing my mind about the layout or finding organic ways to combat the predators, has given me insight into many things like writing revision. You can still move things around, you can adjust, you can add into the skeleton of the structure. You can learn to protect your writing.
I’ve learned about companion planting, and how certain plants benefit each other if planted next to each other. Chamomile, for instance, becomes more fragrant and potent if planted next to other herbs. And carrots prosper next to onions, chives and other alliums, which repel slugs, aphids, and carrot flies.
And of course, that concept of companion planting (mutually beneficial relationships) gets me started on another thread of thought in life. What can we do to make sure our surroundings benefit us? Who do we have sitting next to us? That’s just for starters.
Now the garden is at full velocity. The temperature outside is warm and the skies are clear–it is amazing to see that sunlight translate into growth. The anise hyssop is knee high now, the Korean chrysanthemum leaves towering higher than that. The French tarragon is beginning to grow, the French sorrel readily eaten, and the chervil has, well, not died (it’s a picky little plant).
The garden is entering a new phase–I’m taming the growth, thinning out and eating whatever I can, and beginning to enjoy the green onions, chives, and herbs–even the baby radishes.
Now we enter a new phase of creation–what to do with the produce? What can I create from this bounty?
And as an added note–I send out a big hug to Tea, who planted a vegetable garden of her own this week. Let hope prevail! And may you have a great harvest!