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Listening to your garden

by | Dec 17, 2015

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I recently spent a Saturday on my urban farm doing some last minute garden chores before winter sets in (if in fact it is coming this year!) As it turns out, it was perhaps one of my most frustrating days I’ve spent in the garden in a long time. Let me explain.

First, I rarely work outdoors on Saturdays. This is a result of spending Monday-Friday out there as my job. I escape to the indoors in my free time, the opposite of most everyone else.

Part of what charges me to work in a garden as my career is the environment I get to work in. Beautiful surroundings, birds chattering and the daily sightings– eagles, foxes, hawks, bluebirds, snakes, and of course all the insects I’m crazy about. You never know what you might see around here.

ca8c9682-f734-4468-b804-9c004ed441e8Back to that Saturday. I had decided to tackle a mess of a bed with my new USA made stand-up hoe (stay tuned for this baby.) This bed was planted with seeds in late September, just a few days before we had a crazy storm that brought 8 inches of rain. All that wonderful rain ushered in what was now a weedy disaster. I proceeded to hoe the jungle in an effort to save the flowers that were trying to grow.

Before long neighbors began coming out to do their yard work. At first I didn’t realize the problem. I just wasn’t having that satisfied feeling that I so often experience when I work in the garden. I’m one of those instant gratification junkies, which makes weeding an especially rewarding job for me, normally.

Then it came to me, it was the noise. I could barely think about what I was doing for all the blast noise makers. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers picking up leaves, Billy goat leaf eaters and another noise that I couldn’t identify. There wasn’t a spec of bird chatter that I could hear. Boy, if we went after diseases and mean-spirited people like we do leaves on Saturday mornings— wow, just imagine.

My point in writing this is not to chastise those using equipment–because I surely do this when needed. It’s to encourage those Saturday gardeners to try another day of the week to garden whenever possible. Because otherwise, you may have been missing out on the best part of your garden, listening to it.

Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer and owner of The Gardener’s Workshop in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at [email protected] , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website .

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