To answer :: sometimes I am not really sure. But it does.
It will be our second real season with raised beds and I still feel a little thrill when I see them in the backyard. What it is about the growing of things that I find so very very satisfying? There is something about watching little bits of seed that have been placed by your hand come through, fight up through the soil and then make something beautiful and edible and sustainable.
Each season has bought new lessons, ones of bugs and holes in leaves and the results of refusing to thin out the bunches of seedlings. Slowly new knowledge accumulates and I have started to realize how long it actually takes to grow a carrot or a sweet delicious leek. Food goes from piles of inanimate produce in great heaps at the grocery to a precious pinkening strawberry that is anticipated like a Friday night beer.
Gardening is not rocket science but there is a science to it, and an art. There is a vigilance required and I am learning about all of these things in the process of growing things in my backyard.
Last year we had a fairly dismal strawberry crop, harvesting one or two here or there until the season for strawberries was gone and I thought it a total waste of the front bed space. I wanted to rip them out but was too lazy to take it on. But then the strawberries started to run and replant themselves in their instinctive plant ways and they weathered the chill and came round this year.
I read up on how to manage the plants and found out that the second season is always better than the first and that they need some mulch and elevation from the soil and then the pretty little bunches started to have flowers and flowers and flowers and now we are waiting on whole bunches of strawberries. Not enough to anticipate making home jam from really close to home but enough to make it worth the keeping.
Gardening is not easy but it teaches patience, it is a laboratory for my children who now know to smash the chubby grey cutworms and leave the silky red worms be. It is a place to teach us that food is not easy to come by, it is not to be taken for granted and it is to be eaten. It is also a joy because even though I did not make that little seed sprout, that maybe had it been scattered in any place at anytime, it may have come to fruition with intervention unneeded. But it did come up in my yard, under my hand. It's better than Church.
The chard, the peas, the bok chok and celery (which I whooped with joy to see because apparently it is tough to start celery from seed).
Eating young fava bean leaves because you can, watching the boys record strawberry size growth in the notebook with their Uncle, anticipating and then receiving. It is a good thing.
But it makes one realize the preciousness of food. That if it were gone tomorrow, the Trader Joe's and Sprouts and Costco, would we know what to do? Hell no. But never say you can't learn.
Next up> Sweet potatoes and garlic scapes.