By Karen Schlick
Gardens are timeless; subject to the seasons, the weather and ever-changing conditions, but nevertheless timeless. I place a seed in the ground. The tiny packaged genetic code unlocks a chain of events leading to a carrot, lettuce leaves, or more zucchini than I can eat.
For years I grew a vegetable garden in several 4x8 foot raised beds on top of our hill. Then as the boys grew up and moved out, I let the garden go. The beds became overrun with bind weed and grapevines gone wild. The dogwood hedge crept forward relentlessly, overwhelming the rhubarb patch.
Now, like many others in this time, I have a fresh appreciation for growing my own food. A new garden location is being shaped on that same hill. Pole bean, lettuce, arugula, zucchini, and carrot seeds have been ordered online. I will hire a young man down the street to turn over the turf. Better soil will be delivered by a neighbor. In time there will be food to share. Gardens are generous; abundance freely given, in exchange for the care.
I will dig up and save the rhubarb patch, and trim the grapevines onto a trellis. An area of neglect is being reborn. I am bravely setting forth once again to try and grow strawberries. “Hope springs eternal” must have been a saying coined by a gardener! In my solitude, I am seeing what has been neglected and what could be better cared for; within myself, as well as in the garden.
Planting even a few seeds can give the pleasure of watching things grow. Gardens can be an antidote to the news in this difficult time. They are a reminder of our relationship with the earth that sustains us, timeless and life giving.
[Editor’s note: this article is the first in a series.]