Gifts From Nature: Backyard Organic Gardening, Kevin McGrath

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Once Valentine’s Day passes, my winter attention turns to thoughts of spring and, more precisely, my summer garden. I start planting seeds indoors and/or hanging them in clear plastic baggies with a little water and tissue for germination from windows throughout the house.

There are numerous books from expert gardeners available with handy tips for planning, soil preparation, cold climate planting, garden care, pest control, harvesting, saving your seeds and a multitude of other how-to advice for better gardening.  I like to look them over during the winter months to broaden my gardening horizons.  I don’t use them as my Bible however, as I am more into the classic “The Secret Life of Plants” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, which reveals the sentient nature of all growing things.

My gardening goal is not to have the biggest, most beautiful, lush, vegetable-producing extravaganza in the neighborhood, but to have a place where I can commune with some wonderful creatures and energies of nature, nurturing them in the way I feel intuitively drawn to do, while they nurture me on many levels, including with the rewards of countless delightful, delectable indulgences of the palate.  Anyone can throw chemicals into the soil and grow large veggies and fruits.  I want a safe environment for all species and future generations.

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Last spring, while peacefully and quietly weeding in the back eighty, (inches that is, as our garden is relatively small), a tiny rabbit that had to be only days old hopped right into my lap!  It was the most beautiful sight. This scrawny, velvety-soft critter, possibly exploring for the first time, came face to face with our planet’s most fierce species of predator, the human.  I lifted this “wiggly wabbit” up into the air for a closer look. It scrambled out of my grasp and disappeared into thin air, just like it arrived. I decided just to enjoy the essence of its blur.  It had passed an early lesson on escaping dangerous situations, and hopefully, learned an even more important lesson about not getting into precarious situations in the first place.

My backyard organic garden, (or b.o.g. for short), is a place where I can be close to nature without having to get into my car. 

I can just walk out the door and be in a wildish space.  I don’t chase out other beings that hole up back there.  Much of what is grown is eaten by the local habitat.  Birds and chipmunks enjoyed nearly half of our strawberries last season, while a raccoon ate all our corn on the cob.  

Our raspberries, rhubarb, sweet peas and tomatoes, however, were savored in our kitchen and we had such an abundant supply of pears that I’m still adding them to sauces and juice.  The gifts of my “b.o.g.” bring good fellowship and nourishment to all that indulge.

Kevin McGrath is not a master gardener, but a master lover  of gardens and nature.

Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2010 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2010, Intuitive Learning Creations. All rights reserved.