A Joyful Gardening Thing

I’ve learned to plan the dinner menu around what I can harvest in the garden. It’s a special form of joy. We make a pasta with pesto and peas, a taco night where I slice up the Serrano peppers, and a baked potato night to use up all the chopped chives. Next week, with ripe tomatoes, we’ll eat all the Italian dishes, including eggplant parmesan when the eggplant ripens. In the fall, I cannot wait to feast on the Brussels sprouts.

(I wish I could say that I plan treats around the blackberries, raspberries, and ground cherries, but alas! I eat them all before I can even arrive back to the house! It’s a greedy gobbling every morning.)

When we began this journey of staying home mid-March, I learned what it means to flourish in limitation. Within the boundaries of God’s plan here, I looked out into an overgrown backyard. Those were the boundaries. I weeded more out of boredom and a need to accomplish something more than anything else.

And I learned this:

Gardening provides structure to the day and offers something beautiful for the brain: something to hope for each new morning as you check for growth, new blossoms, fruit, and then ripening. I think this trains the mind in hope just like writing Live with Flair every day does. You live in the expectation of good news. You dwell in hopeful things.

And you also learn odd things you never imagined knowing: how cornmeal sprinkled around your Brussels sprouts will attract the birds that eat the worms that eat the sprouts (and how the worms will overfeed on the cornmeal and leave your sprouts alone, too); how Thai Basil tastes and smells exactly like licorice if you let it flower; how ground cherries are the greatest delight and hardly anyone knows about them; how shiny “scare tape” will save your berry patches from all the birds; and how your tomatoes will ripen as soon as the temperature dips below 85 degrees.

All this from a little plot of land. The tighter my constraints, the deeper my knowledge went. A limitation is never truly a limit.

Psalm 16 has always been my favorite psalm, especially the line about how “the boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places.”

The garden is pleasant indeed. Sometime, small allotments of anything provide the pathway to abundance, especially if they involve dirt and seed.

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