We had our youngest gardener thus far in the soil this week. Zoe, 9 years old, came with her mom, Elysabeth, to help weed and plant onions. It’s amazing to see how connected Zoe is to the earth without being taught. She is a pro-waterer and really enjoyed planting the onions from seed. I suppose it runs in her blood. Her grandmother is a French gardener and her mother also gardened. In Zoe’s family, gardening has been passed down through her mother, her grandmother, and great grandmother. In my family, gardening was passed to me through my Uelo and father. I remember the first picture I have of being in the garden. I was maybe 8 months old in a pair of pink corduroy pants. My Aunt Mary is holding me and my Uelo is leaned over the soil in the background of the picture, toiling away.
Having Zoe in the garden this week reminded me of our own connections to our families, to our Creator, and to the creation. Kids love getting their hands dirty. Do you remember when that stopped being fun? I assure you that if you introduce gardening to your kids at an early age and remain consistent, it will never be a burden to have soil under your fingernails. For Zoe, gardening is about making stuff together. Gardening is about submitting to our own humanness and relying on the grace of God to grow the seed. Zoe gets that. I believe because of that mature understanding and experience in the garden, she will grow in her faith beautifully. She also is beginning to understand the importance of growing food for our neighbors and why growing organically is important to the earth. She’s only 9. I say this to inspire those of you who have yet to get your adult hands dirty with the soil of justice. Whether your gardening to provide food for your neighbors or food for your own household, gardening helps us connect to our food and appreciate the work we put in to produce it. I guarantee your connection with the Creator will begin to blossom also, especially in this planting spring season. Remember, it’s never too early or late to begin your very own garden.
Next week, we are connecting the Christian missionary, St. Patrick of Ireland, to the planting of potatoes. We bought Yukon Gold, Pontiac Red, and All Blue potato seed. Potatoes usually take about three months to fully mature and be ready for harvesting. I figure the potatoes should be ready just in time for the Fourth of July. Martin, a homeless man that has taken up residence near our church is coming to help us celebrate and plant these potatoes. I hope you join us also.