Gardening in the midst of a pandemic

By Alysha Clark

I come from a family of gardeners but when I thought about gardening myself, I never thought I was capable of the patience and consistency a garden needs.  My confidence around gardening was close to non-existent but this Spring, I decided to challenge myself. 

Before the pandemic I wondered about a garden.  I love having fresh vegetables and fruit around the house but going to the grocery store so frequently was inconvenient.  So, I asked my partner about building a raised garden bed.  Soon enough, it was built along with some seeds planted.  My goal was to have one vegetable that was edible.  

I am happy to report  that so far I have had over 100 cherry tomatoes and 3 cucumbers!  

Reflecting on my garden season, I have seen my confidence grow along with the vegetables.  I did not expect to have a spiritual experience while gardening.  Everyday gardening was an opportunity to pause, to take care of something outside of myself and see the beauty of nature.  I needed this more than I realized during a global pandemic, where I was experiencing so much uncertainty and learning how to navigate a very virtual world.  

Gardening also gave me an opportunity to connect with people.  I was able to talk to friends, colleges, family, and acquaintances about how to garden, what is growing and how the weather is affecting the garden.  It was a great moment when my Dad put a sticker on my car that said “Proud to be a farmer.”  Now- I realize I am no way a farmer but that sticker helped me feel connected to a community and helped me feel connected to something bigger than myself. 

I read this quote “Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden” and I really feel like this quote describes my experience of having my first garden.  Gardening has opened my eyes to new ways of healing and has allowed me to focus on my recovery in a new, fun way.