Five Life Lessons From The Garden

If you have ever tried to grow a plant, you know it has its challenges and triumphs.

I have yet to learn how to make my coffee plant happy and it still bears the marks of its neglected early years. My indoor plants have yet to become my forte. However, the other day in my garden in the side yard, I saw that my garlic is sprouting and is surviving our colder temperatures. I moved into a new place this past summer and having been working on its garden spaces so that 2015 can provide a variety of foods and flowers. I recently spread poppy and cleome seeds to bring some color and height variety to the flower selection. Let’s be honest, I like playing in the dirt.

But what does one learn from gardening?

1. Beauty does not always coincide with quality.

This year, I had gnarly, stumpy carrots come out of my garden and they might have been the best carrots I have eaten. They had a light, crisp flavor and sliced perfectly. And have you ever eaten a lopsided heirloom garden fresh tomato? Those things are divine. On the other hand, I eaten a perfectly beautiful Roma tomato that tasted like paper. Also, have you ever met a seemingly beautiful person only to find out they have the personality of a brick?

2. There will always be weeds and competition amongst the prettiest of plants.

There will always be pesky things in life. Whether it is a dandelion or a ill-tempered co-worker, there will always be weeds. Sometimes a patch of ground that has too many weeds, needs to be scrapped or left to its devices. Other times, those weeds can be ousted and something beautiful can grow in its place.

3. The right tools and company can make the mundane enjoyable.

How many of you have had a job or an assignment that bored you to tears, but was made possible through having the right people with you or having the right materials? Investing in the right tools and using the best resources can reduce strain, further work down the road, and improve the health of your garden. And if digging in the dirt is a bore and a chore, good company helps pass the time.

4. Taking time to prep during the off season means a more bountiful harvest.

I had the raised beds at my new place weeded and mulch before the first frost this past fall. Mulch will help deter the seeds lying in wait and will make weeding the paths easier next spring. And weeds are not likely to grow much over the winter, so my garden is ready to go when the last frosty morning is past. I can get my crops going at the first opportunity and lengthen my growing season. In life, the way we discipline ourselves on the hard days, means we have more to spare on the bountiful days.

5. Patience and hard work go hand-in-hand with success.

If someone ever tells you keeping a garden is easy, ask them if they are human and feel their forehead for their temperature. Like I said previously, there will always be weeds — along with bugs, disease, storm damage, destructive wildlife, etc. We sow and plant with hope for tomorrow. A bit of water, a bit of good dirt, an appropriate amount of sunshine also has to be paired with waiting and work. But flowers will bloom, vegetables and fruits will emerge, if we are good stewards and do our part to protect what is in our care.

There is much to learn from our natural environment. We can understand unconventional food sources, how our individual choices can impact our world, the habits and affect of invasive species, the transfer methods of plant-bourne diseases, and much more. Understanding the world, beyond the sidewalk and windowpane, means knowing how to make responsible choices with litter, your grocery store purchases, and the objects you surround yourself with. And in understanding the world, you may find out more about yourself.

Thank you for stopping by today! Chao.

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