Have you ever thought about the full spectrum of the gardening cycle that is taking place whenever you receive fresh produce? This spectrum actually begins in the winter while the soil lies barren and frozen under a blanket of snow.
These first stirrings occur when I send nurturing thoughts to the garden. In anticipation, the earth receives the seeds of hope for spring. With the spring thaw, natural organic fertilizer starts to penetrate its nutrients deep within the soil. Hay from the surrounding pasture serves as mulch around the perennial plants, offering protection from the drying winds. Earthworms do their part as they continue to turn over the earth that is underneath the hay.
Spring brings warming temperatures and life-giving rains. Tilling the soil brings the microorganisms back to the surface, and the organic fertilizer is broken up and redistributed. This brings air back into the soil. This time of year makes me feel rejuvenated, and I reconnect with the earth.
Each seed I plant is poised to carry out its genetic instructions and to grow into the plant it was created to be. The plant’s life forces go into action as they work in harmony with all that is around them. The environment gives spirit to the growing seeds and plants so that they might develop their own energies. I feel at peace and in harmony when working in the garden. The plant consciousness or elemental devas pervade the surrounding garden as we work as one to create expressions of love.
It is truly a joint effort in the manifestation of creation. Forty-year-old spruce offer protection to the garden from the prevailing south summer winds. They also offer shelter for all of the songbirds that grace our home and garden. Birds share their daily songs with growing plants, enabling the plant stomas to open wider so they can absorb more nutrients. This symbiotic relationship results in larger, healthier plants.
With intentional exchange, we share our garden with the wildlife. I even have an agreement with the local rabbit population. I have built brush piles around the garden and yard as protection from our dogs, other natural predators, and the weather. In return, they eat minimally from our garden, concentrating instead on the area’s native vegetation.
As the bird life partakes of our berries, garden spiders spin their webs in our raspberry canes, helping to control the garden’s insect populations. Native bees and pollen-loving insects of the area visit the flowering plants, providing cross-pollination.
As the summer unfolds, other native animals like pheasants, Red fox, raccoons and opossums visit the garden. Underground, even the Eastern mole is busy turning the soil. This interaction continues throughout the summer. There is continuous interplay among the species of the local plant kingdom with the strongest plants seizing available garden space at any given time.
After long hours of tilling, hoeing and weeding, the desired plants flourish and take command of the developing garden. Vine crops such as pumpkins, squash and melons minimize the weed population. Many garden plants work as companion crops. Certain plants can be grown side-by-side to help each other enhance growth and deter insects.
The light-giving rays of the summer sun produce an energy exchange that is needed for plant growth and development. When all of life works in harmony, the outcome is an abundant harvest. Varying life cycles for different plants provides an ongoing harvest, beginning with asparagus near the end of April. The harvest continues until late September and early October with the final gathering of pumpkins and winter squash.
Our 10,000 square foot garden produces approximately fifty varieties of fruits and vegetables, yielding more than 4,000 pounds of produce annually. We share our harvest with family, friends and co-workers. Anything that can be recycled is returned to the earth as nutrients for another year.
The garden produces abundantly and expresses life energy by the texture, size, and flavor of its fruits and vegetables. I experience great personal joy from working in and observing our garden and also from sharing our harvest. We believe it is a labor of love.