Greed has no place in the garden!

Anyone who's had a garden knows that it's more to it than just growing food. There are lessons to be learned while gardening. Lessons about hard work, life and death, our connection to the Earth; to name a few.

This year, my garden had flourished. I was so proud of it. And then I wasn't.

I finally figured out how to plant leafy greens in appropriate rows. I had decided to apply a "three sisters" approach to my rotating veggies, and all was growing well...until I got greedy.

Actually, I got greedy before I even planted. I planted way too much for my small garden. I refused to "thin" my crop. And even worse, I decided in advance that I would kill any animals that got stuck in my net this year (instead of releasing them like I did last season.)

Greedy, greedy, greedy. And it all backfired. Because I refused to thin my lettuce and spinach, I barely got to enjoy any of it before it was all spindly and rotten. Because I refused to thin my peas, there were just too many and we couldn't pick them all before they got tough and old. So much was wasted.

And the worst happened with the nets. I net off all my berries to keep out birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. My worst battle is with the chipmunks. Last year, I rescued a scared chipmunk from the nets. This year, I decided in advance that I would kill them if they got stuck.

A lot of thought went into that decision. It wasn't just because the chipmunks jump at me whenever I approach the berry patch or the fact that they bite each one of the berries ($#%%!). It was also because they're animals, and so am I. There was a certain sense that I should treat animals like an animal. I don't know. It's a long drawn out conversation about nature, theology, and life in general. But in any event, I had premeditated the event.

And it happened. A chipmunk was stuck in the net, and I killed him. I'd like to say that I killed him quickly and moved on. But it wasn't exactly how it went down. He died quickly, but I never stopped thinking about it. I wondered if I'd do it again and when I would stop. What kind of animal was I turning into? I wondered if I was just being greedy...

I lost interest in our strawberry patch after the incident. Partly because I could still see/smell its decaying body. But after clearing its body, I still thought about it every time I entered the garden area (which is daily.) I started to think of my berries as blood berries, and I didn't want them anymore.

So I removed all the nets. To be honest, the chipmunks were getting in anyway. And I decided not to net the strawberries next year either. What will happen beyond next season, I can't say for sure. But I'm hoping to have learned from this gardening season and leave all my greedy notions behind.

Next year, I will thinly sow my seeds. I will thin out the plants as they grow. I won't over plant more than my family can actually eat. And I'll be satisfied with what I have. No more pleas to extend the garden and dreams of making my yard into a mini-farm that I'm unable to responsibly sustain.


kalea_kane said...

Wow. Good lesson. Thanks for sharing it. I will definitely keep that in mind when I start on a larger garden next year.

liz said...

The one thing I've learned about gardening is you won't know effect something you do will have until it's too late. And then you have to wait a LONG time to try again! :)

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