The Labor and Life of Gardening

My wife keeps expanding and adding variety to the gardens at our house. For her, they’re a labor of love, rewarding and fulfilling for the work they require. But growing hundreds of different plants calls for constant attention.

The basics demand hard labor. There are the piles of plant remains to be turned and sifted. The compost they yield has to be mixed with top soil, sand and nutrients – to produce a good humus. There are beds to be weeded and mulched, manure to spread. That’s the sort of thing I help with – lots to lift and shovel, wheel barrow loads to fill, push and dump, holes for new fruit trees to dig out.

There are hundreds of plant varieties, each requiring just the right amounts of sun, shade, water, soil supplements and natural pest control. Weather is a constant concern. There is new planting during much of the year, designing gardens to flow with the seasons so there’s always something thriving.

Read the rest»