A couple of years ago, someone who should know better-someone I should feel encouraged and not criticized by- looked at my messy garden and called it “bad farming”.
This hurt me and has unfortunately stuck with me ever since.
It’s true that my garden is often a mess. I’m not always prompt at weeding, staking, tying, and general maintenance. Plus. my overall gardening abilities are in their early stages of development and the result is that things grow out of control.
My humble garden is a triumph for me. I’d tried and failed in the past to establish a functional garden. It was something I had always wanted to enjoy and be good at. Along with bread making, it is a task I have revisited several times throughout my life in an effort to succeed and find the joy I know is waiting for me. And after a number of failed attempts, I finally found it!
Even in its messy state, when I look at the garden, it makes me happy just to know that I’m trying. It makes me feel alive, moving, and growing.
There is an addictive quality to planting seeds and watching them grow into large plants, and then to watch those plants provide you with food. Eating something you grew yourself is miraculous and special in a way that even your local CSA or farmer’s market can’t touch.
Here’s the thing: This miracle is provided, in most cases, even when we don’t do everything “right” or “perfectly”. My “bad farming” has provided us with our family’s entire tomato needs from August through October every year for the past 3 years. And it has given me a feeling of competence and blessing that has evaded me for so long.
My “bad farming” is a miracle, a blessing, and an experience I savor every summer. It is a reminder that I can still learn things, do things, and find joy in places I thought were closed off to me. A reminder that even at 40 years old I am still growing and becoming and I am good and worthy of all the miracles that come with growth.