Monday, April 17, 2017

Why I Garden

Here in the spring time, when it is time to fire up my garden again, and there is a lot of planning to do, I find myself falling into the habit of thinking about my garden as I fall asleep and again first thing when I wake up.

This led to a recent early morning thought of "Why do I have a garden?"

Asparagus this year.
There are many documented health benefits to gardening. It gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine and gets you moving around. I believe I saw an article that said people who garden tend to be more physically fit than people who don't.
Fresh air and exercise!
Of course, going for a walk would also get you out in the fresh air and sunshine and won't chip your nail polish, but you don't usually get tomatoes at the end of a walk.

There is probably evidence out there that shows gardening gives you an opportunity to be "mindful" and "in the moment", which is good for our mental health.

I am fortunate to live in a time and place where fresh fruit and produce is available all year. I can also afford to buy it at the store. So I don't need to garden to put food on my table.

That all leaves me with the idea that I garden for the fun of it. I have a hobby garden! If the goal was to save money on my grocery bill I would need a much bigger garden plot than what I currently have. Don't get me wrong, the fresh vegetables are definitely also a reason I garden.

Part of last year's harvest.
Nothing beats a fresh tomato, straight from the vine, that you grew yourself. It tastes so much better!

I like the satisfaction of seeing the results of my hard work. I can till the soil, or plant some seeds, then stand back and admire what I accomplished. It seems that there are many activities we engage in these days that don't show results for our efforts.

Watching TV for example. Or cleaning the kitchen. What is the point of cleaning the kitchen? It is just going to get messed up again the next time someone eats something!
A beautiful strawberry I grew last year.
Seeing the result of my time spent is also a reason I like to knit and crochet. There is tangible evidence of the time I spent on the task.

There is also, probably, a hint of nostalgia for me. My mom always had a small garden when I was growing up. Nothing as elaborate as I'm doing now. We'd just grow some tomatoes and cucumbers. I remember one year I tried to grow cantaloup, but it was too close to the driveway and one of the melons got run over!

Maybe it is more habit than nostalgia.

I can tell you it is something important enough to me that I miss it when I don't have a garden. We had a six year stretch when we were in rental properties so I couldn't have a garden. I tried container gardening, which got me tomatoes at least, but also made me want more room.

I was excited about having a garden when we bought our new house and put one in right away.

Of course then there were my failed gardens in Connecticut. One year Samson ate all my tomatoes (Baru probably helped). The next year I kept chasing him away from the plants so he retaliated by peeing on them. After that I stopped trying. (With the new garden I put up a fence as much to protect it from Samson as from the rabbits.)
Garden gnomes last year.
I'm looking forward to enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and fruits & veggies of my labor again this year.

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