May Challenge: Start Your Garden

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” — May Sarton

The beautiful orange azaleas that somebody planted a long time ago in front of my office window inspire me and bring me joy. I challenge you to plant a garden for yourself and future generations.  In April I told you to be lazy and hold off on your spring cleaning to let the dormant creatures emerge out of their winter’s nap.  May has arrived and now it is time to plant that garden. Planting food and flowers nourishes the body, soul and grows independence.

As long as the sun still shines and the clouds still rain on us, we can find ways to provide for ourselves.  Just imagine yourself wearing your grungy pants, releasing the sweet smell of soil and the wiggly red earthworms as your shovel cuts the ground.  And then there it is, your canvas, a piece of soil that can become your living painting, a painting you can eat, a painting that will bring life to the soil, food for the pollinating insects, and joy to you.

When you need a pick-me-up, I suggest a healthy dose of weeding. Yes, that is right, weeding. There is nothing more satisfying than grabbing quackgrass by the base, following the root a couple of feet underground and then ending with a pile of “spaghetti” grass or getting into a tug of war with that redroot pigweed taproot and winning. Then comes the excitement of seeing your seeds germinating or your transplants taking hold and getting big.

Your garden will thrive because of your care and effort, not just to satisfy your imagined harvests or to fulfill your good intentions. If you are in the market for seedlings, stop by the farm this week during our Certified Organic Plant Sale & Farm Festival. There will be over a 100 plant varieties  to choose from and lots of experts on hand to offer advice.

Our landscape can be a source of positive environmental change. Plants can remediate toxic soil, attract beneficial birds, insects, bats and bees, prevent erosion, create habitat, reduce heat in the city, reduce utility bills and return nutrients to the soil. To attract beneficial insects to the garden arrange flowering plants near the veggies. Predatory insects will find nectar and shelter and then snack on the aphids that are eating your lettuce, beans and tomatoes. To attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden plant pussy willows, milkweed, bee balm, peonies, asters and coneflowers. Plant with your neighbors and sow property borders with perennials and fruit trees to create a green corridor for wildlife and migrating birds.  A colorful diverse garden is a healthy garden.

Hope to see you at the farm this week, Monica

Visit our events calendar page for a full list of upcoming workshops, including:

Container Garden Workshop with former Crown Point Education Coordinator Lynn Gregor. This event is free to members during our Early Bird Plant Sale (and it’s not to late to become a member).

Ask the “Tomato Doctor” – Dr. David Francis, PhD from the Ohio State University will be on hand from 11-3 on Saturday, May 13th to answer questions about one of the most loved summer vegetables!

At Home in the Wild – Join us for this enlightening presentation bridging ecology and gardening! You will learn why native plants are crucial for the continued survival of wildlife, why non-native plants threaten diversity, and what you can do to attract a greater variety of birds, pollinators, and other wildlife to your gardens.

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