As my backyard gardens are beautifully springing back to life, I am turning my attention to a new gardening project. In the backyard I have a variety of flowers, ornamental grasses and herbs growing. I planned this personal paradise five years ago with great care and deliberately excluded vegetables.
And then last year, foreshadowing the shift my life was about to take, a volunteer tomato plant mysteriously appeared among my showy perennials. Assuming a bird flying overhead had gifted me with this plant, I was amused and allowed it to grow. Over the course of the summer that little surprise tomato plant grew to become a massive, sprawling producer of delicious cherry tomatoes.
When I switched to a plant based lifestyle in July, I looked at that tomato plant speculatively, amazed at the timing of this nudge from the Divine. Perhaps it was time to rethink growing my own vegetables.
I don’t have an empty spot in the backyard to add a vegetable garden. However, walking around outside, I found the perfect location south of the house in a side garden. Last year I lost the rose bushes in that spot to swarms of Japanese beetles. I now envisioned a 4X8 raised garden bed occupying that sunny space.
I found a simple plan for building the raised bed, using cedar to create 16 inch sides. I like the idea of a raised bed and planting a variety of vegetables close together within it. The concept is called square foot gardening.
An example of raised garden beds, from Country Gardens Magazine.
And now the fun, creative part began for me. This evening I used graph paper to lay out a 4 foot by 8 foot bed, dividing it into squares. I enjoyed thinking about what vegetables to plant and how foundational veggies have become in my life.
At first I wrote the names of the vegetables into the squares as I laid out my new garden. And then a lovely idea came to mind. I felt inspired to sketch the veggies and color them in with my colored pencils.
I love how a surprise tomato plant in my garden last year has inspired me to grow my own vegetables this year. I already grow a multitude of herbs that support my health on this healing journey I am on. Producing veggies seems like a natural next step.
And I love how planning a raised bed garden allowed my creative side, my inner artist, to join in and play. Sure, sketching and coloring in little vegetables took more time than simply writing the words. However, that’s what this year is all about…creating robust art, while creating more robust health. And as a plus, tonight’s project made me feel very tender toward myself, and my journey, and the beautiful and mysterious Divine.