Gardening for the soul

Years ago, a friend gave me some “sacred earth” soil, her special compost blend that she prayed over every morning at daybreak. I filled two makeshift garden beds and got busy. I managed to plant and harvest a beautiful garden full of tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, and mint.

What I didn’t realize was the therapeutic effect gardening would have on me. Connecting daily with the earth’s textures and aromas, the warmth of the sun, planting tiny life-giving seeds, the wonder of the work done by worms and other insects, the sound of the water softening the dry dirt, hoping for progress, watching life spring forth in amazement, and harvesting the savory fruits still warm from the sun for a quick meal was the ultimate holistic experience.

There was something magical about it all and as each workday neared an end, I found myself longing to be in the garden tending to my ‘babies’. One of my fondest memories of that summer was sharing that sacred space with my grandson, Desmond, who was 2 at the time. He was so enamored with the cherry tomatoes and would pluck the juicy ripe red orbs off the vine and stuff his mouth. How I wish I had a photo of that!

Other than childbirth, no other experience has proved as satisfying to the soul. It’s been too long since then. And recent years have been filled with much loss (of loved ones, time, revenue…) and so it is time to be reminded, indeed to embrace the simple abundant blessings within our reach. And I cannot think of a better vehicle than gardening.

I read a bit about square foot gardening and sheet mulch, even took a free organic gardening class at a local holistic college. But really, the only way to learn is to dig in, literally! If you’ve been thinking about it, I encourage you to do it. Gardening is sustainable, green, cost effective, therapeutic, heart-healthy and fun! So far this year, I’ve planted strawberries, tomatoes, snap peas, cabbage, beets, lettuce, and a variety of herbs in two 4×8 raised beds in my backyard. You can follow my organic gardening journal by connecting with me on Facebook or Twitter and share how your garden is coming along.