Today was really exciting for me, aside from my personal successes of moving right along in my online courses. Wow, does that feel good!
It was a great day because my loyal kitchen co-worker Louie joined me in the garden! Having other Happy Valley employees in the garden has multiple benefits:
In three month’s time, I will be leaving Happy Valley and all the work I have done in the garden. From that point forward it is up to YOU, our supportive community, and US to maintain and nurture it. Bringing our own workers in to the garden ensures all the knowledge of maintenance and production don’t leave with me.
Seeing as the kitchen is one of our main end goals for this garden, it is advantageous to have a cook spend some time in the garden with a cook’s eye for what is most beneficial to grow and supply the kitchen with. It is also beneficial for the cook to understand what, exactly, does go on on the other side of the property in terms of composting, seeding, caring for, and harvesting. This full-circle knowledge allows the kitchen to think in a “holistic” way.
There is a lot of work that can be done in any given garden, and it can amount to quite a load for a single worker. Having a partner in the garden makes physically demanding tasks possible with much less effort per person, increasing the likelihood of completion. Two people can bounce around ideas for how to build a structure, and make more progress than one person alone. Working with another person generates motivation to work harder.
While I value the thinking time I get in the garden when alone tremendously, today I realized how nice it is to have a person to joke and chat with as we share in activity. I enjoyed showing Louie how to turn compost and allowing him to tear old plants out of the dirt, and there is a proud satisfaction I get when I think forward to the excitement he could experience when his first seeds begin to sprout.
It’s beyond great to provide programming for groups passing through, to share with them the little knowledge I’ve gained and to see their faces and bodies light up with interest, yet we should not overlook the inherent benefits of creating a culture within our very own, immediate work community.
When you search for a job, you look for benefits that can’t be beat, right? You want the dental care, access to the company gym, a quality work environment, and a bottomless coffee bar. What we can remember is that in small organizations such as ours at Happy Valley, we are able to profoundly influence that *quality* of work environment part. If your job had a garden that you were allowed, even encouraged to spend time in weekly to nurture your own plot, or contribute to the beautiful arrangements all about, would you indulge in the decompressing outdoor time? Well, if that isn’t appealing to you, then I don’t know what else to say than read this article on the antidepressant benefits of just touching dirt.
As much as Louie complains about beets tasting like dirt, I’ll wager you he will take at least one bite of the ones he planted today! (Unless he sees this, then he’ll aim to prove me wrong!)
This bed is actually the first bed I planted in back in July. As time has gone on, the thriving plants turned to flowers and seed, so it has been long overdue a revamp. We pulled out the plants no longer producing bounty and we mixed and added more soil (and nutrients) before planting anew. Beans and kale, bring it on!