On garden emotions

img_0903Wouldn’t you cry too?

On Wednesday, after work, I went into the old greenhouse with my small stash of shallots and I started crying.  Sobbing, nearly.

YES:  me, hard-headed, tough-as-nails, rationalist, non-sentimental ME, brought to tears by the emergence of the first fava beans, by the gorgeousness of the lettuces, by the thin little green waving sprouts of leek and onion.

img_0891Freckles romaine

I cannot tell you if it was merely something hormonal, but I can tell you this:  these greenhouses  have changed my life, have changed our lives, and not just our food lives.  If ever I can convince you to get a greenhouse of your own, please remember this post:  remember me sniffling as I tried to harvest our dinner salad!  Blinded with tears!  Oh, the joy.

img_0906Red Sails embracing Green Grand Rapids lettuce

24 responses to “On garden emotions

  1. Years ago, before we owned any property, but after more than 15 years of renting, I was reading through a Rodale book on organic gardening. I got to the section that described raspberry varieties, and I broke down in tears with longing and sadness. So I know exactly what you’re talking about, El.

  2. This blog should be required reading… simple, instructive, beautifully written and straight from the heart. In moments of rare optimism I believe people are finally starting to ‘get’ it. Thank you El

  3. Gorgeous pics – those little plants look so hopeful! I need to read back in your archives about your greenhouses, how you set them up, etc.

    Do you heat the greenhouses at all?

    Jen in South Haven

  4. I hear you, sister. Tears of joy spring forth more frequently, unannounced and unbidden (but not unwelcome), with each passing year. And most have to do with the generosity, exuberance, natural beauty of living things. I agree. Your blog should be required reading.

  5. I agree with Jen. The tiny plants in your pictures and in my garden look hopeful. It is just special in a way that can’t be duplicated by any other method.

    Sometimes it brings me to tears too. No worries. We all understand it is a normal thing for the true gardener of food goodness.

  6. yes! the hope and future that a germinating seed symbolizes can indeed bring tears, the realization that by nurturing life one is part of a grander scheme… and then of course the sheer deliciousness of eating the darn thing!

    (and we are putting up our low tunnels that we will use first to start the warm crop earlier. Will post photos soon)

  7. I have cried reading the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook more than once. I have cried over plants in the garden, over veggies in the kitchen, and I have even cried sometimes just TALKING about my garden!

    Here’s to caring that much about food. Here’s to caring that much about growing things. Here’s to doing work that we feel so passionate about. If more people felt emotion well up at the sight of a green growing sprouting vegetable, it could only be a good thing for the world.

    And thanks for this post!

  8. That romaine is especially lovely. There really is nothing as comforting as being able to provide food for yourself.

  9. El – Your photos bring me to tears, so I certainly understand your sobbing. (And I’m NOT a crier for the most part – seems to be changing with age though.)

    Thanks for sharing. This was a lovely reminder of all that is real and right and good in the world.

    p.s. I agree with Milkweed – the SSE yearbook has shaken me to the core because of its awesomeness many times! (Is awesomeness a word? If not, it applies here.)

  10. I think anyone that has a passion for gardening, flower or veg, will completely understand this. I too, have been brought to tears when I saw a picture of what our backyard looked like when we bought the house (an absolute void) and compared it to what it looks like now. It is amazing the joy that plants with their beauty and usefulness can bring into our lives.

  11. I raise my glass of wine to all green and growing things everywhere, and all those who tend to them! here here

  12. Everyday I am more than thankful for being able to live on a farm, to farm in the manner that we farm, and for the beauty of growing everything we do!

    I understand, girl friend, I do!


  13. Have you tried covering carrots in the fall with straw? The snow insulates the carrots along with the straw and through the winter the carrots can be dug up from under the snow and straw…very sweet and firm.

  14. I’ve cried (or at least teared up) at the sight of the first shoots of my veg coming out – just their tiny little tips poking out, and imagining all that is to come from them… the amazingness of it all seems to come together sometimes….

  15. Though I have never watered my plants that way, I have felt an elation akin to spiritual at the growth of plants (or the release of winter).

  16. Those are lovely. I am not crying but I do see the joy of having a greenhouse.

  17. Darn right. We are watching our favas emerge with great elation. Peas too.

  18. Kate, I think I have nearly every old Rodale book: they can be found at library sales all over around here. I love them all, they’re so fun and so chock-full of good advice. Raspberries! I still think I need them but know I will hate to weed and de-cane them. Eating them, though, well, I do well up…

    Randi, you are such a sweetheart. But I hear you: I think the message needs to be simple in order for people to really glom on to it, in this particular instance Get a Greenhouse: You Will Cry with Happiness.

    Hi Jen! No heat here. Just what’s called “double coverage” during the coldest months: the plastic of the cover and the floating row covers (very lightweight agricultural fabric) that blanket the beds. I just plant things that take the cold, too.

    Thanks, Deborah. I am telling you I was a bit surprised by the waterworks, though, and had to share, figuring there was a broader lesson there somewhere…

    Hi Christy, well, it’s good to know I am not alone! And I appreciate the hopefulness too found in the greenery. Hope and potential: I would say that wraps up the gardener’s expectation of spring, right?

    Sylvie, good, I look forward to the low-tunnel post. I think what IS great about blogging is we do tend to spread good ideas around. (I love that!) But yes I do likewise agree with the “grander scheme” idea: food is important!

    Ooh, Milkweed, don’t you hate the talking-about-the-garden tears? Happens to me a lot and I swear I have to kind of back up and confirm that either I am always an emotional wreck OR that I am just emotional today…unless, of course, I am talking to a fellow gardener. Maybe we need to kind of spread this around, like you said: like gardening is a secret drug. Seriously. What harm could come from a nation of gardeners?

    Mrs Chiot, I know: isn’t it fun? Being able to do something so simple as grow what you eat?

    Angie, thanks! And sure, awesomeness is a word.

    Nat, yes, thank you for underscoring that it ain’t just veggies that can be emotional triggers. My front-yard city garden was a weep factory for me too, especially considering what it had been before I got ahold of it (the house too, come to think of it). There’s lots to be gotten out of turning over some sod.

    Jules! Absolutely!

    Linda, it is nice to wake up and just be happy that you are where you want to be, isn’t it? Maybe if more people gardened, they would be happier with their situation in life!

    Steve, yes, we do the straw trick too (along with turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi and some parsnips). I am of the theory you can’t have too many carrots. We tend to eat the outdoor ones first before the ground gets too frozen around them. I did, however, find a few that had made it through the winter just fine, which surprised me!

    MC, yeah, I wonder often if we’d feel the same way if we had been doing this all our lives; if we’d become inured to the beauty and wonderment of it all. I kind of don’t think so.

    OG, I am telling you, there is a lot of benefit to growing green things, and it isn’t all in the reduced grocery bill.

    Eliz, exactly. And we’re in the same zone of lots of snow, long-winter nonsense as you; I am just so glad to make winter just a couple of months shorter for myself.

    Ed, great! It is always so fun when things start popping up again, isn’t it?

  19. You convinced me a while back. We may not be able to afford a greenhouse yet, but we’re going to add cold frames and try Eliot Coleman’s methods.

  20. Our backyard hoop greenhouse brings so much joy–not much to look at maybe but when I open the door and the warmth pours out while a cold wind if blowing I’m blown away. Everyday a new discovery…today the portulaca teeny tiny babies are up…and the snapdragons I grow ’cause my husand loves them. With our rocky Ozark soil we grow carotts in tubs and they are up, yipee. 15 different varieties of tomatoes and five kinds of peppers are needing repotting…Again! The broccoli and cabbage are begging to go outside but so cool and windy I don’t think they’d be happy yet…..
    Dalhias, four o’clocks,vincas,impatiens,petunias are getting bigger and I must pot them up….wonder why people don’t know how easy dalhias are to grow from seed? We grow them in memory of my husband’s grandma who was the only person who didn’t think we were crazy when we bought our first 20 acre place….she adored digging in our dirt up into her 90’s! DEE

  21. Pingback: Compostings

  22. I’m not ready for a full on greenhouse (someday when I’m a homeowner again), but your blog has definitely inspired me to try at least a small coldframe this fall/winter. I’m in the Mid-Atlantic, and our winters are pretty mild, so I’m pretty sure that with a cold-frame I could grow something almost all year round.

  23. Karen, that is so great to hear! Certainly, do what your budget says you can do (but don’t tell my husband that: I of course stamped my feet and said that we MUST build them, now) and do try different methods. Some folks are getting by just fine with hoophouses they can stand up in made out of PVC conduit, some rebar, plastic and some 2x dimensional lumber all purchased at the big-box stores. Personally, we get so much snow that I am glad we’ve got the industrial size, but I certainly know not everyone is in our shoes.

    Oh Dee that’s lovely! Yeah I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder with these hoophouse/greenhouse things, but you hit it on the money when you said how you felt when you simply opened the door. And yes, thanks for reminding me I need to plant some flower seeds too! It’s all good. Thanks for the tip about dahlias too; I should try that…

    Thank you Compostings! what a dear…

    Yes indeed Valerie growing things year-round can get to be kind of addictive…and even if you are renting all this coldframe or hoophouse stuff is pretty dang portable. My theory is life is short so don’t put off vegetative enjoyment!!

  24. catching up some…

    I cry often in my garden — always from joy, amazement, a sense of abundance so strong that I need to spill over.

    The hard gardening of cutting back and composting brings me a sense of relief and freedom.

    We’re almost ready to build a greenhouse. D is doing seedlings in our enclosed porch room this year, and he built low row covers this year. New experiments for us.

    Your writing is as beautiful as ever, El.

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