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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

The Ritual of the Garden

Spring has finally found its way to Maine. And this weekend I had the huge pleasure of having my good friend @juliemcleod come and help me sort out what was once a beautiful circular vegetable garden, lately a tangle of grass and weeds. (And yes, that’s her in one of my Plant These Save the Bees T-shirts!) As we stood there working the soil, layering sheet mulch and imagining seeds becoming plants becoming veggies, I thought that garden is for sure a ritual. And gardening with a friend and even more sacred ritual. It struck me that preparing the soil, planting seeds and then tending to them is something so ancient, so hardwired in us, that it soothes the soul in some deep, cave-woman kind of way. Like fire does. These basic tasks that for thousands of years, millions if we including gathering wild food, until only a hundred years ago or so, were necessary for our very survival. I felt that deep comfort as I poked my finger in the black compost and had my sons and my boyfriend's daughters each drop a few pea seeds, and a thin line of lettuce seeds in the early garden. The ritual as old as time, securing our food. The ritual of waiting for the season to turn, the soil to warm, but not too much, getting our hands dirty and wet. To me, who can practically float away I get so excited by things and so wound up, digging in the dirt, watering a tiny seed, covering the bed with hay, like a blanket over my 200 seed babies, is one of the most deeply grounding and clearing rituals of all.

This year's spring garden was even better with Julie's amazing wisdom sprinkled on it. She is a professional gardener. She works with @larkspurdesign, who provide services in permaculture gardening, which is a super cool method of gardening using the resources you have, and adding to it with organic solutions to things like poor soil and weeds. She also then can teach people how to pant certain crops so that they mature with the changes in sunlight and temperature during the growing season, also using a plant's natural properties to support other plants (like beans growing up a cornstalk) and to naturally deter pests. Yesterday she was teaching me to sheet mulch. If you have very little time like I do, this is a life saver. And SO cool. My favorite thing I learned yesterday was her saying, "The problem is the solution." I have annoying piles of dead leaves caught at the edge of my fence that look messy. Well we rake those up and pile them directly on the weed overgrown vegetable bed. Then a layer of wet newspaper, then other layers until topped off with the straw I had left over from my Halloween decorating last fall! Then you poke holes where you want to grown things, and all the rest keeps the weeds down to an almost non existent level. All without chemicals, and all with very little work after the initial sheet mulching. I was so excited I was hopping around as my neglected garden came back to life. To me there are metaphors in everything. and taking the time to carefully and lovingly prepare the bed for my garden, then plating a seed and carefully nurturing it until it is strong enough to bloom on its own, is something I can apply to every aspect of my life, from parenting, to self care to my businesses. We all need to make sure we have a deep, nourished, well tended self before we can grow anything truly beautiful. SO often we try to plant seeds in ourselves when we haven't given ourselves any love, nourishment, care in so long, the seeds can't take root, can't blossom. So as I practiced the ritual of gardening, and got black compost under my fingernails and on my hands, as I felt connected to some ancestral thread of women who did this same thing for thousands of years, just to survive, as I stood with my friend and we talked and shared information and gardened together, I felt that this practical, productive act is also truly a sacred ritual. #gardening #food #self-love #ritual #organicgardening #permaculture #larkspurdesign #stonefeatherfire #vegetablegarden #food #women #inspiration

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