Why Didn’t We Have a Garden?

This week in the Flog:

  • Have you ever been too busy to garden this year? This post is for you.

Have you ever missed a year in the garden? Just got too busy with spring cleaning, soccer camps, planning summer trips, and all the other things that get in the way? This post is for you.

I had someone write me the other day in response to my question:

“Don’t have a garden yet this year? Why not?”

Here’s her message:

“Hey Patrick – I’m writing in to tell you my sob story about my garden this year. I live in Oregon, and by now where I live most of my garden should be planted or getting there. But my tools are untouched in the shed. This is the third straight year that I haven’t ‘gotten around to it’ come spring time. There’s still time this year, and hopefully reading your awesome articles on gardening will get me inspired enough to start before it’s too late…”

- Sarah

I thought this was a really interesting comment, because it summons memories from my own childhood. I grew up on 40 acres in rural southern Oregon. We have a beautiful property there and kept a hobby farm all throughout my growing years. But not a garden. I mean, we had a garden some years. We would go through periods of having a garden for 3 or 4 years in a row. But then we would go 2 or 3 years with absolutely nothing growing in the ground.

This amazes me now. We loved our gardening. My brother, sister, parents and I would go out every night during summer, just around 7 or 8pm, when the shadows start getting long and the temperature drops to tolerable levels. Our whole family of 5 would go out to the garden and sit in the rows weeding for an hour. There is something magical about that time of day in the country; the noises of the day – birds, cicadas, neighbors – all settle down for the night and there is a time of relative stillness before the night shift starts – crickets, frogs, coyotes. It’s my favorite time of day – when the sun pours like molten gold over the fields, highlighting the flying insects working their intricate patterns in the air. There is a kind of calm warmth, a nostalgic contentedness, that permeates everything then.

It’s easy to get caught up in the modern world of machines and gadgets, and lose sight of this earth-binding experience. It’s easy to just not find the time this year. But I have a pearl of wisdom for you: there is a subtle but profound difference between ‘finding’ the time to do something important and ‘making’ the time. It is about 1. reflection to determine what your priorities in life are vs how you actually prioritize them 2. creating a game plan that works to support your true priorities and 3. repeat 1 and 2 until you are living in sync with what is really important to you. Note: this is extremely harder than it sounds.

Now imagine all those memories in the garden; those experiences of bonding not only as a family, but with your surroundings, your real environment. It’s not too late to have a garden this year – I hope you can all find the time to make it happen, and make these kinds of memories for you and yours.

Your story might connect with someone and help motivate them. Care to share your favorite time of day in the garden? And why you love it? Your experience is valuable to Sarah and others like her. Connect with the community and help motivate those that need it. Leave a comment below.

  • jim triplett

    gardening for me is taking responsibility of my own health, in learning to raise the highest nutrient dense foods to maintain the body functions. to learn to slow down and enjoy the connection of nature in all its attributes. enjoying a bond and love for all the life forms in the soil and air, that make life possible on earth. plants respond by our interactions with them, when we take the time to be with them. they can be as pets, that want our attention and love. gardening helps to reconnect to the Truth within all that is spiritual. it bonds the community in unity and healing energies, that is not found in grocery store isles.

    • Patrick

      Thanks for sharing Jim! I like the holistic approach. It really is more than just growing things in dirt. :)

  • Cass

    Regarding finding time to garden. I live in Florida where the opportunity to garden exists year round. I live in a neighborhood where people have 2 or more acres of land and yet, I am the only one who gardens. Gardening here in Florida is not easy, bugs, fungus and heat abound. But there is something about putting a seed in the soil and watching it come forth that is so magical that no matter how discouraged I was by at crop failures, crop destroyers (squirrels, bugs, and fungus) and the work involved (weeds) I do it again and again. One spring I swore I wouldn’t put that “burden” on myself because we were undergoing a major home renovation but the garden wouldn’t hear of it. Pioneer tomatoes from my kitchen wastes started appearing as did pepper plants and squash plants all jumbled together in various beds. It was one of my best garden years ever.

    • Patrick

      Haha that is awesome. The putting seed in ground really resonates with me as well. There is just something awesome about planting a seed and knowing it will grow into a thriving plant..

  • Georgina Parry

    Thank you for your inspiring message. We should be making time for what is really important.I love your description of your own experience. The “time out” with exercise and fresh air and nature is good for body and mind, and if healthy food is grown too that is a bonus.

    • Patrick

      Yeah exactly – the crops you reap are just a bonus. The journey is the reward. :)

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