The Yin and Yang of Gardening | Seventh Generation
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The Yin and Yang of Gardening

Author: nyc gardener

Summer here in the North East slipped away more quickly than I expected. Warm weather and billowy skirts have given way to cooler air and fall colors. While I contend with the onset of autumn, I find myself looking back on this year's planting season with pride (and just a few regrets).

When we plant our garden each spring, we hope for healthy, bushy plants that grow strong and tall and produce endless amounts of ripe and delicious fruit. We look forward to the joy of the harvest with anticipation as we grow our seedlings, fertilize our young plants, and then watch them get heavy with veggies.

We want our garden to be perfect, free of bugs and pests, and highly productive. We want the weather to comply with ample sun, balmy warmth, and enough rain to aid the harvest but not to drown the crops.

Of course, wanting the perfect garden is like asking for children who never wake up in the middle of the night or airplane travel without delays. The joy of gardening always comes hand in hand with the pain of its imperfections.

Each year we endure aphid infestations, hornworms, or powdery mildew. We deal with the disappointment of crops planted with such love and care that never grow any fruit at all (my cucumbers come to mind).

And of course, we can't control the weather. This year blistering heat scorched our lettuce, killed our blueberry bushes, and stunted the basil (not to mention the impatiens, which just wilted in the heat). Last year, endless rain caused tomato blight in gardens and small farms across the North East. Every year, wind storms knock our pots over, crushing fruit, and the occasional heavy rain causes nearly ripe tomatoes to burst right on the vines.

Yet, at the end of the day, I know we'll keep taking our chances and planting again season after season, because the joy of tasting that heirloom tomato or roasting fresh peppers and eggplant grown by hand makes it all worthwhile. By planting our garden, we spend less on commercial food, eat healthier, and make the world a little greener. What about you? Did your garden behave this summer? Would you ever give it up?

photo: katie sayer


XBWeller picture
I have found that is so rewarding to have a garden of your own. I started out with just tomatoes and have added a different vegetable each year, for the past three years. If you can cut and throw stuff into the freezer, you don't have to know how to can! It is nice to be able to use those frozen veggies all through the winter!
HazenClan picture
I started my garden when my son was born. He was allergic to so much, including artificial dyes. You would not believe how many things have dyes in them. Now...we would never be without my garden. The whole block looks forward to when my 3 peach trees come to harvest and my daughter's afternoon snack is fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with grape tomatoes fresh off the vine. We eat healthier. We feel better. And, as a's really important to me that when I put a plate of food in front of one of the kids...I want to know where it came from and what's in it. Now...I know.
murielp picture
I knew I would be away this summer with my kids but yet I had the urge to plant my garden like every year. It is an urban garden, I have moved it around our little yard many times but still, year after year, I feel it gets bigger and better. We tried new things like leeks, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. I also got some unusual French squash called "patisson" from my homeland. Our children were so excited to seed our garden. It all sprouted and by the end of June I could see what my husband would have to eat in that tiny garden while we were away! We left and I hoped I would have something left of the veggie garden when we returned. Upon our return in late August, I was so delighted to see it had survived the hot and humid weather, the storms and down-poured rains, the little care from my dear husband:-)) and the usual summer pest. We had cherry and grape tomatoes, 5 nice size French patisson, beets, carrots and leeks. The broccoli and the Brussels sprouts were nice but no fruits yet. The herb garden was totally over-grown but it was all there. I smiled and I cannot wait to plan for next spring . I would never give up my veggie garden. It is my childhood memories, my little spot of heaven of earth, my care and love of nature to share with my children. PS: Thanks for this beautiful article.