March 16, 2011

Why Garden?

Written by Edwin Dysinger

With warmer weather and daffodils blooming we realize that we are quickly coming up on the time to get a garden in.  But, in a world where meals are available at the push of a button and the swipe of a credit card, why would anyone want to garden?

Here are some of my reasons:

  1. It’s “down to earth”, a fundamental human activity.  I believe that the garden is where we began as humans.  We can’t get much more basic.  This reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw years ago, “Agriculture - the only Essential Industry”
  2. It’s real.  Life is getting so complicated, so far removed from reality, so virtual.  I love dealing with dirt, bugs and living things.  And having to work withthe realities that come my way – protecting from frost, managing drought, working to reduce disease pressure.  This is real life!
  3. It provides close contact with nature.   So many of us today go from a climate controlled home, to a climate controlled vehicle, to a climate controlled office, where we stare at nature scene wallpapers on our screens – how much time are we spending in the real world?  Science has begun to recognize the benefits of “green time” for children and others.  Some even speak of  “nature deficit syndrome”.  Gardening is a wonderful corrective!
  4. It gives me time in fresh air, and sunshine., and it gives me a mild workout.  I have been told that these things are all good for me.  I know that they feel good!
  5. It makes you sweat.  Most of us prefer to avoid sweat.  It doesn’t feel good on our skin.  It doesn’t smell good.  Its messy.  But I’m learning to embrace sweat.  Adam was told that he would eat by the sweat of his brow.  I believe this is God’s will for me.  I am also learning that in general, the sweatier I get, and the worse I feel on the outside, the better I feel on the inside.  Sweat is a purifier.  It is one of the body’s means of excreting poisons – not just physically, but mentally.  Just try sweating up a storm doing something useful and see how good you feel about yourself.
  6. It provides wholesome whole food for the table.  We all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables.  What better incentive to eat those fruits and veggies than to grow them yourself?  Besides, what you grow will be fresher, better tasting and better for you than the stuff that was picked two weeks ago in California.
  7. Perhaps even more than having healthy food on my table, I appreciate the satisfaction that comes from knowing that most of what I ate, came from my land and my effort.  Today (Wednesday, March 9), for example, we had a soup –potatoes from last summer, beet picked last Thursday, carrots pulled on Monday, cabbage picked last month, and canned tomato sauce from last summer; a mess of misc. mustard greens picked yesterday, and spinach salad also picked yesterday, all from our garden.  A meal like that gives a sense of satisfaction to my stomach, heart and mind.
  8. It saves money (at least if you don’t cost your time!).
  9. Often there are times when many hands make light work in the garden.  Gardening with others, family or friends, is more than just growing food.  It is an opportunity to grow family and community by working together for a common purpose.  During the summer on our farm, we save certain jobs that need more hands for the evening, when the day is getting cooler and more mellow.  As we all work together we have time to discuss issues, tell stories, sing and in general, to just connect.  It’s great!
  10. It’s good for my character.  Gardening isn’t easy.  There are often setbacks.  There are usually challenges, problems to be solved or surmounted.  But facing these things builds backbone.  Is there anything wrong with that?

So, are you ready to put in a garden?

If you would like to experience some of the above mentioned joys of gardening this spring but perhaps are unsure of how, my brother John and I will be putting on a “Growing Healthy Foods” workshop on Sunday, March 20, from 2-5 PM in the Fellowship Hall at Martin Memorial Church, 900 Hwy 50 West in Centerville.  We will be sharing things we have learned over 12 years of organic gardening for market, about soil preparation, strategies for weed and pest management, special tools and much more.  And we would love to see you there!  For more information call:  931-583-2795 or 931-583-2701.

Blessings to you Edwin