We decided to grow a garden in early April. I approached the planning the same way I do for most things I’m extremely excited about — quickly.
Originally we were just going to plant a few things in the raised bed the previous homeowner had always tended. But, after we learned a little about seed spacing and realized we’d only be able to grow a few different vegetables and herbs, we bought a tiller. I knew our track record with gardening and I was fully expecting that for every five types of vegetables we started, only one would end producing a few edible morsels. So, to increase our odds, we got a packet of just about every vegetable we could find at Home Depot (separate post about our newfound favorite places to get seeds to follow!), tilled up the yard to make room for them all, and spent the next couple of weekends sowing seeds in neat little rows. We even drew ourselves a map.
Pumpkins, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, squash, asparagus, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, mint, chives, catnip, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, red onion, garlic, green beans, lima beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, romaine, sweet corn, tomatoes, black beans, eggplant, okra, shelling peas, sugar snap peas, hops, and peanuts.
Throughout the next few weeks, we watched as seedlings sprouted after successful germination. As the plants grew bigger and bigger, the garden began its lectures. I was about to learn a valuable lesson.
Early in my career, when I was getting ready to go on a weeklong vacation and worrying about the various issues that might come up in my absence, a wise mentor told me: the world will keep spinning. The thing is, when I began gardening, I was worried about failure because I thought I lacked a “green thumb.” I had so little confidence in myself that I missed the entire point: all I needed to do was have a little confidence in Mother Nature. This beautiful place that we call home knows exactly what to do — and she’ll keep spinning, with or without your green thumb.
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that you can throw seeds in the ground, walk away, and enjoy an abundant harvest a few months later. We put work into that garden — blood, sweat, and in the case of the kids, even a few tears.
But what I am saying is that the weeks when Mother Nature does the watering instead of the garden hose filled with municipal water (rain barrel blog post — coming soon!) are the weeks we see the most growth. The opossum whose poop we found in our fenced-in garden hasn’t eaten a vegetable yet, but I’m sure he’s feasted on several Japanese beetles. Bees, which I used to run screaming from (literally), have pollinated flowers, making possible several of the side dishes my family has enjoyed this week.
The world will keep spinning. But only for as long as we take care of her. So many of us get so caught up in the day-to-day moments. We are blinded by the stressful situations we encounter as we go about our lives and we forget to appreciate the things that really matter. We don’t stand in awe of the tiny miracles all around us often enough. We forget our humility. We forget to remember that we are part of something bigger than just ourselves.
So stay humble. Work hard. And take as much time as you need to appreciate the miracles all around you — big and small.