“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin
One can dream and plan of what they want their garden to be like year after year. However, if the weather and abilities to put that plan in motion are not in your favor, you will need to be able to see your dream change to meet the new circumstances. I would love to have my garden blossoming with colors right now, as it is almost mid June. Yet, this year the weather conditions, asthma, allergies, and even baseball season came first over managing the gardening plans. Am I a little sad to see my garden at an early stage? Sure. But I know it will still have plenty of time to grow and be wonderful.
In the past, I have taken a lot of time making raised rows for the plant types. This year, I just made hills for each individual plant. I do this to ensure the plant has enough soft soil to sprawl the new roots into in order to get established. As well as to ensure the plant doesn’t drown, if a big rain storm comes along during that critical period.
In previous years, I had tried to plant a lot of vegetables in a small amount of space. My thinking was more plants equaled more produce. Yet, I discovered my sensitive skin would break out and itch after going into the garden. Did you know there actually is a skin allergy to tomato leaves? So just add that to my list of allergies. I made sure to space the tomatoes out and make the rows wide enough this time around. I have changed my thinking to more quality than quantity.
Furthermore, I want my garden to place of relaxing and discovering. I planted a lot of flowers in the garden and nearby. Natural attraction and resistance of good and bad insects are welcome to come by (or stay away). I left plenty of empty space for my boys to dig in the dirt. To discover what lives in the dirt. Enjoy all aspects of what God has given us to help sustain us. If we don’t enjoy seeing the delicate processes that go on inside a garden, why do we have one. God desires us to seek him on a regular basis. Where else can we focus on his masterpieces than in a garden.
“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy.” –Proverb
What comes to your mind when someone says they are going to play with dirt? For me, I think back to childhood when I would play in the creek bed, dig for peanuts in the garden, and make mud pies with pretend chocolate milk in my cafe at Grandma’s house. For my boys, it has been moving dirt with toy dump trucks, digging out trenches to make streams and waterfalls, and various construction zones. It is about using your imagination to make a simple item that is in our everyday life into a memory that will last a lifetime.
Now as an adult, the phrase ‘dirt work’ can encompass various meanings. It can mean to simply move dirt from one location to another by means of large construction equipment like clearing land for a new building or development. It can mean under ground work for that building. It can also mean to work with landscaping, preparing an area for a garden, or even installing a pool. Anyway, I believe most of the people in those fields enjoy their ‘dirt work.’
Working with dirt has been proven to make a person healthier. Weather it is having a few potted plants inside your home, a flower or vegetable garden, or a big farm. Your body and soul will thank you. The pure act of gardening will reduce stress hormones and blood pressure, engage your senses, and strengthen your immune system. It will focus your mind on the present conditions around you, grow your mind as you learn new things on how to tend to those plants, and gain accountability for taking care of those plants. Outdoor gardening can get you moving more to stretch muscles while tending to the plants, to enjoy more sunshine which in turn will calm oneself, to become more observant, and possibly become more adventurous. All those things can release happy feelings in a person. I know it has been a joy for me to have a garden. It has helped me stay active and enjoy the pleasures of the coming harvest.
God says to acknowledge his presence in your work and he will bless your efforts. Show appreciation for God’s ability to give us what we need. He is with us as we work, giving us the necessary energy to do so. Now that should make any soul happy.