Our vegetable garden is our friend. Four years ago we dug our first beds and planted our first seeds. The soil was clay and the predators fierce, but with sweat, patience and time it now nourishes us. It is not only about the food it provides, which is wonderful. It is more about what our garden teaches us.
Our garden connects us with the seasons. We wait for the first sweat pea flowers, the strawberries to ripen, the heavy drops of summer rain. The garden seems to heighten the elements by adding significance to them. No longer is rain an inconvenience but a blessing enjoyed on many levels after a long dry spell. The sun shines both on our plants, and us and both are rewarded.
The soil connects us. Gandhi once said something like when man stops digging the earth he forgets who he is. The soil is a tough mistress, requiring constant attention and gifts. However, if treated well she is very giving and really isn’t that hard to please; a little compost, a gentle turning and sprinkle of water.
Our garden is a great teacher. She taught me patience and the joy that comes with watching plants grow- a delayed gratitude that makes food taste better when you have nurtured it from seed. She has taught my children how to work at things and rewarded them with the same simple pleasures that reward me.
Our garden is a great chef. Through the seasons we are held to keep our meals true to what is available. Simplicity is perfection, fresh is perfect and requires little added. Food from elsewhere never has that same taste.
As a family we owe a lot to our garden. It connects us, provides for us, entertains and delights us. For this we are grateful.