Take a venture with me, to my first balcony garden in celebration of Earth Day!
Many years ago I built an entire vegetable garden all by my-small-self. Three tiered. Stones for stepping. The whole shebang. And did I mention it was my first gardening experience? Go big or go home, right? I was an all-or-nothing type of character, and in the end it was just too much.
I started by digging up a huge patch of grass in my yard with a mere shovel. I rented a tiller to turn up the dirt. If you have ever used one of these massive machines, you know the sheer power and vibration. My arms were sore for days. I hammered together, not one, but three wooden garden beds, placed side by side with rock paths for dividers. I lined the beds with weed protector, filled them with soil and I planted and watered my veggies until they blossomed... Literally blossomed. Friends came over and mentioned that flowering broccoli means I missed their harvest. How was I to know? I was, nor still am an avid gardener. All that hard work, and we ended up moving!
I over-exerted myself and walked away from a project that took weeks, even months to accomplish. All I can do now is hope the new owners of the property took over where I left off, but I will never know. Learning from mistakes is how we grow.
Today, I live in a house on Vancouver Island, nestled amongst shady forest, rocky terrain, and a family of deer. Wonderful to wake up to, but not ideal for a garden. I am starting my first vegetable pot garden on my balcony, bathed in sun and protected from delicate chomping deer teeth. So far, I have butter lettuce and chives. My rosemary and thyme have dried out. I must start over. Tomatoes, strawberries and beans are next, but I am in no rush. It's only April. I have learned to slow down, start small and proceed with baby steps, only doing what I know I can manage.
With only four or five flower pots, I still get my hands dirty. All that really matters is spending time outside, connecting with nature and breathing in the soil. Did you know that dirt is an antidepressant? Soil microbes (called Mycobacterium vaccae) are proven to have a relaxing effect on our brain by stimulating serotonin production. No matter how small the garden, we benefit. Who couldn't use a little pick-me-up these days?
My Earth to Body accomplices are Zinc Oxide to protect my delicate skin from the sun. Nori Soap for scrubbing delicious soil from my fingernails and X Cream for moisturizing my hands when it's time to sit back and wait for sun and water to do their magic.
Patience. Start small. Learn from my mistakes. My new mantras. This time, I will harvest when ready to eat. I may not have an entire salad, but it's another start. Wish me luck!