Monday, September 01, 2008
My Garden, Our Garden
The Family Homestead--This is my first year cultivating a garden on the plot that my grandparents had for around 40 years. When they first moved to this house in 1963, the soil was sandy and rocky--almost barren. But for all that time, they enriched the soil in our 2 acres of land with their composting, giving it a richness to be envied. I miss them so, and so do our neighbors here who knew them. My grandfather died in December of 2003, and until this Spring, I was just too depressed and reluctant to start a new garden here.
But this year, it was time, and with a new life in our family (my niece), that time had come to bring more life into this world. There's something spiritual about growing your own food, it's a feeling that I cannot fully describe. It's not only emotionally-liberating, but it gives you a sense that everything is possible again, that life begins anew every year and that little else matters (except love and friendship). I know, what the hell is he gibbering about on a site that's filled with a lot of ugly themes about an ugly era?
Because: we all need to return to our own private gardens, a return to the arboreal, to our personal Edens. Plants have always held a fascination for me, and I sometimes have visions of a better life, and they're always there in the images. They're dreams of my childhood, when I used to wander through forests, through the ruins of the House of David in Northwestern Michigan (and its environs), and through nearby forests here in Indiana. Nature was always my asylum, a place of mystery and of joy. It still is.
This garden has healed my soul in ways I could never have imagined, and has helped me understand what I'm capable of. It hasn't just been an empowering experience, it's been one of self-actualization. So has this blog, but it can never do the work that my--our--garden has.
I've grown: leeks, cauliflower, eggplants, peppers, red and green onions, maize, four varieties of tomatoes, cantaloupes, and yellow squash. Not only has this helped lower our food-costs, it's made me feel very whole, more alive than I've ever felt. The feelings of accomplishment are beyond words--it just feels good. I and my family aren't eating so much processed-food because of it. My German ancestors did this for countless millennia--my mother's maiden name is "Blough, which sometimes has been spelled "Plough"--and I have to wonder if this knowledge is somehow passed-down in our genes, because it was so easy, so natural.
That's not to say it wasn't a lot of physical work, but it came simply, without very much trouble. I literally only had to dust for insects a couple times, and don't believe in using pesticides that much. That's it. You can go now. Try growing a garden sometime if it strikes your fancy, I couldn't recommend it more highly.