The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
I absolutely love this quote. There are times when I'm stumped over the question, why do I have a garden. The words I choose just don't seem to acurately measure how I feel about the process. That is, until I found this quote. When so much of my life is spent at a desk or in front of a device, I do lose awareness. Sometimes I feel like I become a zombie just going through the motions. Gardening is more than growing something, although that is rewarding as well. When my hands are in the dirt, the sun is on my neck, and the birds are singing joyously I do feel restored. Restoration; the best word to describe it.
If you are a gardener, you know that it can be tough. Garden work can suck the life right out of you by taking every waking minute. Between watering, weeding, caring for seedlings, and the time it takes to decide what and where to plant you have zero time left. Then you harvest. At one point, we had a shared, large garden. I'm talking HUGE, and we spent most of our time, ok all of our time, in the garden. When the season was over, I was over gardening. Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for growing your own if it's possible, I'm just not sure if exahausting yourself in the process is worth it.
This year I promised to add more balance into my life. It's not only my word of the year, but my mantra. I have to meditate on it or I truly forget. Pathetic, I know. How does this fit into gardening? I want a vegetable garden, but one that doesn't require a lot of time, and believe it or not, it is possible. There is a method for gardening that will still provide balance in my life and restore my senses without exhaustion.
The first thing I did was move the garden to the backyard. We don't live on a gorgeous piece of property (yet) that can hold the previous mentioned large garden. That garden was 30 minutes from our house. Our backyard is tiny. There is just enough grass one could maybe mow it in three passes. The need for a garden in our backyard far outweighed the need for a small patch of grass and therefore the decision was made to take over the backyard with garden boxes. Two 4' x 4' boxes fit comfortably and I still have ample room to meander around them to plant.
I have not used raised beds for gardening before. This will be my first experience with them, but I can already tell you that this may be one of the best gardening decisions. To date, we have put very little time into them, and they are already starting to grow spring produce. I wanted to share this experience with you to show you how easy it really is to grow your own vegetables. I am not an expert builder or gardener. There are many resources available that make it possible for anyone willing to put in a little effort and I can't wait to share them with you.
I'll be back with the step by step process of how I built my boxes. Do you have any experience with raised beds? Why do you garden?
large collage image: Writing Program PTW's photostream
all small images: indigo 26