Monday, June 15, 2009
The Imperfect Garden
Practicing organic methods in the garden takes T.I.M.E.... something most of us have very little of. Unless you have a postage stamp-sized garden, and not a whole lot of anything else going on, I'm sure you found out the hard-work way, there are simply some things that will not get done. As I sat in the garden this weekend, painstakingly pulling tiny purslane plants from the base of the sweet corn to prevent smothering of the corn (taking extra-special care not to disturb the tender corn babies) in preparation for their first feeding of compost, I thought about conventional gardening and farming. I live in farm country, and I often see the farmers spraying numerous times a season. It's so easy for them to mix it up, and pour it on. Chemicals truly make it much, much easier, but at a cost more valuable than gold. And as I hit the compost pile, turning, digging, pulling, tossing, and carrying finished goods back to the garden, I thought about how much harder it is, but SO much more healthy in more ways than one - the environment, sustainability and "recycling of materials (a.k.a. horse manure!), human health through the food we eat AND our own physical being. Organic gardening is a workout! And even with all that hard work, its still not perfect. There are weeds I'm learning to live with until I can get to them, there are overgrown herbs that can just wait a little longer, there are tomatoes that need staking that can hold out a couple days, and there are areas that simply were left for nature to deal with -- there are peas to pick! Organic gardening is all about spending a lot of time nurturing a healthy lifestyle, and accepting imperfections.