Notes from the Garden

We fear radiation, especially when it’s emanating from a damaged nuclear energy facility. But without it, our plants won’t grow and our children won’t eat. We need the sun to radiate life.

Most plants spend their whole existence committed to a single purpose: producing a flower. For some this is easy; they get all the water and sun and mineral nutrients they need. For others it’s a struggle; they begin life disadvantaged (crowded behind a stronger plant, stuck in the shade, rooted in dusty wormless dirt) and toil throughout their entire existence merely to survive. For them, producing a flower — and with it the chance at offspring — is their defining accomplishment.

What seems like stillness is an illusion. Even when plants appear to be doing nothing, they’re moving, growing, eating. On perfect days filled with sun and water and a gentle breeze you can almost see it happen.

Worms are magic. They constantly eat and shit, and both activities make gardens happy.

Culling works. Thinning the herd (trimming away weak off-shoots, removing unsuccessful branches) makes a plant healthier and hardier. Instead of giving up or pouting over what’s been lost to the cruel shears, plants gather their renewed strength and try again.

Until you nurse baby sprouts into vibrant adults, you don’t fully understand how many enemies, natural and otherwise, a small vegetable plant attracts. The developing organism doesn’t require human stewardship to guide it through the gauntlet, but they certainly appreciate the assist.

Snails move much faster — and are far less benign — than their reputation suggests.

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1 Response

  1. Allen A says:

    Just leaving a note to show some love…I think you have an excellent little essay here. Keep up the good work on gardening!