You will find that I didn’t say “going green”. We’re not talking about saving the earth today. At least not directly. My darling loves gardening and I am fortunate enough to enjoy the abundance of her hard work. I like the cucumbers best, but you can never twist your nose on a tomato fresh from the garden. It’s really true that anything in your garden tastes 1,000 times better than anything in the supermarket. Maybe it’s the love and care that’s in it? Most likely it’s because it wasn’t shipped to two countries. I’m not sure. But as someone who does not reach for a vegetable by default, it is worthwhile to create and maintain your own garden.
When we started discussing the renovation, we had to keep an eye on the location of the garden. It currently gets a great midday sun and then gets a little respite later in the afternoon. This allows for early morning watering and afternoon refreshment without worrying about burning the leaves like you would if you were watering at noon. With the redesign of the house to the east, it looks like the garden can stay where it is.
I am saying all this about the garden because I read an interesting and amusing article on “Rage Gardening” this week. It was on the realtor.com website if you want to find the original. Unless you lived under a rock, this pandemic has all hit us in different ways. Regardless of our behavior outside the home, we all feel the effects of privacy at home (and privacy in public!). As an introvert, I feel like I’ve done pretty well over the past year. I work from home so I don’t really see a lot of people for what it is. That said, it didn’t go unnoticed that the little socialization I enjoy was stolen from me.
One way to express our disdain for our current situation is through exercise. If you’ve read about it for the past decade, you know that I’m a huge fan of hiking, biking, and skiing. I enjoy cycling alone, so a peaceful 60 mile cruise in the Whites is a treat for the soul. For others, like my sweetie, taking out their frustrations on the weeds is a win-win situation. She goes outside and enjoys the benefits of a nicer looking (weed-free) garden, and enjoys the mental benefits of relieving some stress on those pesky vines as well.
One of the suggestions in the article was to plant high-maintenance plants and vegetables. The goal is to get yourself a little more work so that you will go to the garden more often and so relieve so much more stress. We also implemented raised gardens or “boxes” (not sure what the correct term is, but you get it). These are great because they tend to allow for healthier (more concentrated) soil and part with the riff raff on the “normal” dirt where there are a lot more weeds.
In many cases we tend to stew in what bothers us. It keeps buzzing around in our heads. That way, cycling isn’t great (without a good playlist or podcast) because there isn’t much to do on the open road BUT to think about. There is literally always something to do on a garden project. “Just stepping into the garden area leads to a number of projects to be tackled,” notes Kathleen Sullivan Head, Badger Realty realtor. “This is perfect for times when you are frustrated and stressed,” she continued. A few minutes of weeding or harvesting your delicious bounty will surely make these frustrations go away.
And it’s not too late yet! I’m not an expert in gardening (by far!), But I know we’ll be planting cucumbers soon and the tomatoes are still very small. Visit your local garden shop for recommendations on what else to plant and enjoy this summer. You could also mix up the tasks a little. By that I just mean that you can even plant your garden treats with raised beds and then focus on the rest of the area with fences, weeding, watering, etc. There are no rules when it comes to your garden. Plant what you want and enjoy the learning process.
Home improvement projects can (and usually are) stressful. Perhaps this spring / summer you might be better off doing a simpler project that can benefit you in your brain and gut. Have fun gardening!