Garden of Blessings

Garden of Blessings

Although I might have a few pointers that I could share, this is not a “how to” post about gardening.  It’s a post about the many blessings held within seeding, nurturing, and harvesting from the earth.  As a society we have come full circle – from gardening to survive; to city life, with it’s fast and over processed food; and back again to an appreciation of organic and locally grown produce.  Funny, isn’t it, how progress often needs to circle back and reconsider; how we suddenly realize the wisdom of those who have gone before us.  The Bible tells us life began in a garden – the Garden of Eden.  So many life lessons can be taught from a knowledge of sowing and reaping.  How thankful I am to have grown up on a farm with a dad who loved to garden. 

Dad and his giant sunflower

Every gardener that I know will tell you digging in the dirt is one of their happy places, that gardening feeds their soul.  Now, there is scientific evidence to back that up.  Research has found there is a bacterium in soil – mycobacterium vaccae - that triggers the release of serotonin in our brains.  Serotonin not only strengthens the immune system, but it is a natural anti-depressant.  Let’s get our hands in the soil, and even more important, teach our children and grandchildren the love of gardening.  Recent research is emerging that shows “dirt-deficiency” in children may contribute to allergies, asthma, and mental disorders.  Whether it’s pots on a balcony, putting raised beds in the back yard, or volunteering at a community garden, let’s get dirty!

My grandson hold a Hubbard Squash we just picked

One of the biggest blessings that has come from my love of gardening has been sharing the bounty.  I have shared seeds, plants, and produce and I plan to do more and more.  Of course, I know this blesses other people, but it also blesses me.  While I cannot vouch for the validity of this story, I believe in the principle of it whole heartedly. 

Prize winning corn

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the prize for the best corn grown. One year, a reporter interviewed him and discovered something interesting about the way he grew corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shares his seeds with his neighbors. "Why does he share his best seeds with his neighbors if every year they compete with his own?" the reporter asked him.
"Why, sir?" the farmer replied, "didn't you know? The wind picks up the pollen from the ripe corn and swirls it from one field to another. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will constantly degrade the quality of my corn. If I want to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."
The same is true of our lives. Those who want to live good and meaningful lives must help enrich the lives of others, because the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches, and those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, because the well-being of each is linked to the well-being of all.
It is all true; No man is an island.

My friend, Melissa, once said, "I'm going grocery shopping," as she strolled through my garden picking from the bounty.  I loved that!  I love to go out in the summer and 'pick' my salad.  You will never know the true flavor of a tomato until you pluck it from the vine and eat it.  Every child should experience digging in the dirt and pulling out a potato or eating sun-warmed blueberries straight from bush.

Harvest of Beets 

Not only do you share your abundance, but you learn how to preserve it and that's where the fun begins! My niece and I sit under the big tree in my yard every summer and make giant bowls of salsa.  Each year in September, I load up my trunk with veggies, including many pounds of tomatoes, and head to a friend's house for a weekend of canning, eating, and drinking wine.  We have so much fun and line our shelves with jars of yummy goodness.  As one friend said when they opened a quart of whole tomatoes in the middle of winter, "It's like opening a jar of summer."  

Let the canning begin!  The fruits of our labor

My beautiful heirloom tomatoes  Cucumber salsa

And let's not forget the joy of eating what you've grown.  The flavors are so much more intense and can we talk about color?! Just looking at these beautiful veggies brings me joy.  And I love knowing that my family is eating healthy organic food, raised with love.  

Tomato basil pizza  Veggies ready to roast  Colorful stir fry

Support your local farm stands and markets and however you can, find a spot, a pot, or a plot and grow something you can eat.  I promise it will bless you!


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