As the garden season starts winding down (well, aside from harvesting), I thought I'd share the number one lesson I took away from this summer. There's so much that can be learned by working in the garden, and not just about how plants grow. My greatest realization was how important it is to weed the garden. I'll talk about this in both in the literal sense and in a more philosophical sense.
There will always be weeds. Dandelions, crabgrass, pigweed, anonymous red-stemmed weed that is so loathsome I won't even waste the energy to research and identify it.
Even something pretty, like morning glories, can take over and interfere with the growth of other plants. However, you cannot allow them to prevent your garden from doing well. You must be diligent and keep after them, pulling them out by the root and throwing them away.
For the garden
Weeds compete with other plants for the space, nutrients, and water that are available in the soil. By removing these nuisances, the garden plants you want to grow will of course do better, as they won't have to fight to obtain resources.
For the gardener
Exercise. Weeding is a rather arduous task that involves a lot of bending and crouching, so it's a great calorie burner. You can burn an estimated 150 calories in just half an hour.
Develop attention to detail. You can't pull things out willy-nilly or you could very well pull out the plants you want to save! It can be especially difficult to discern young seedlings from young weeds, so this task requires some careful attention to plant structure. You learn to look for subtle color or texture differences, in order to avoid pulling out precious seedlings.
A bit of philosophy
Your mind is the garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. Your harvest can either be flowers or weeds. ~ William Wordsworth
I couldn't possibly say this better than Wordsworth, but I'll still give my two cents on the subject. Negative thoughts are much like weeds that can prevent ourselves from thriving. They compete with the positive to take up valuable mental space.
I tend to be very pessimistic. I see the glass as more than half empty, and the smallest problem can seem world-ending. Weeding out negative thoughts is something I must continue to work on, but it is so important. If we allow them to stick around, they can drop their seeds, and give rise to more negativity. Pretty soon we've gotten an invasive species of hurtful ideas taking over our mental soil, if you will.
Bad thoughts need to be taken out be the root. Take time to recognize their origin. Ask yourself, when did I start thinking this? Is it even rational? Then, work on restoring yourself so you may thrive again. Exercise, read a couple chapters of your favorite novel, cook a delicious meal - whatever it takes to drive out the negative thinking.
Well, I hope this extended analogy wasn't overly ponderous and that it may have brought something meaningful to your day. Follow the advice of Wordsworth - harvest flowers!
'Til next time,