The Benefits of Organic Gardening

It’s alive!

OK, not really. I mean, they are alive, but not in the Frankenstein’s monster kind of way. Just the botany oxygen and carbon dioxide if-you-peel-back-the-bark-and-see-green type of alive.

We have plants. Edible ones. And they’re growing!

Even though our compost wasn’t quite ready yet, we went ahead and started our garden. In a 13-by-13 section of our back yard, near our south-facing neighbor’s fence. My husband dug up four, 5-by-5 plots for planting and a 3-foot cross path. Because I’m involved in this project and me and Murphy’s Law are BFFs (best friend forever…haven’t you seen the AT&T commercial?), naturally the day we picked to start all this was cold and blustery. And of course, I mostly just played with a jolly baby while my husband did all the hard, sweaty work. He loved it and we had a lot of fun watching and waving from a window and occasionally going outside to visit. My inexperience thought this planning, plotting, digging, and planting wouldn’t take any longer than two hours, tops. It’s a lot more hard work than I thought!

When you see a garden of beautiful flowers and yummy vegetables and fruits it’s easy to think only of the pleasant results and ignore how those results came to be. I know I glorified the work and thought oh how much fun it will be to weed and plant and transplant and dig and … get sunburned and bitten by ants and stung by mosquitoes and feel your shirt stick to your back. Somehow, I “forgot” about all those times I was encouraged to go outside and help keep the flowerbeds looking neat while growing up and I hated it. All I could see was the negative side of things. Sticky sap, hot sun, dumb plants. Strangely, somehow I almost enjoy it now.

In early March we planted carrots, garlic, mesclun mix lettuce, cilantro, and garlic. We already had a pumpkin (due to lost seeds somehow mixed in the compost that sprouted. Now there’s a tale: When my husband shoveled out compost to fertilize one of the plots…surprise! There’s already something growing!) and a sweet potato started before we began digging the garden plots. My husband measured and dug the four plots we’d be using for our garden, three non-perennial (annuals and bi-annuals) plots and one perennial, and then laid newspaper down to act as a mulch and …