By Deborah Borel
Spring has sprung at our little farm and the goats in the pasture are once again grazing the verdant new growth in the field.
The greenhouse is filled with starter plants; tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers, soon to be sold or transplanted to the garden. A new cycle begins.
The garden is calling and my green thumb is itching to get back in the soil! There is nothing like an hour in the garden to lift your mood. Apparently the microbes in the soil act as a natural antidepressant. A pocket of seeds, sunshine, no phones and microbes.
A gardener’s happy place.
Planet earth and man are endowed with frequencies, bio-rhythms and emissions which constantly communicate with each other. The earth is one giant battery emitting a negative charge. These currents have a beneficial and calming effect upon our own body electric. Studies show regular grounding, or earthing, improves sleep, reduces pain and increases circulation. Unfortunately our modern lifestyle inhibits this connection. Urban dwellers have to make a conscious effort to reconnect. Some people walk barefoot in the grass. Others practice taiji in the park. Gardeners play in the dirt.
The health benefits of gardening are many and with food costs rising this might be the year to give it a go. If you are new to shovels and seeds do not be daunted! There are nearby resources to help one get started. One resource is the Kansas City Community Gardens.
For over 30 years KCCG has been helping gardeners grow vegetables and fruit trees in backyards, schoolyards, vacant lots and community sites across Kansas City. The non- for-profit organization offers low cost seeds, plants, free workshops, tilling services, and plots to rent. Located in Swope Park, 6917 Kensington, it is just north of Gregory and easy to access from Highway 71.
Going to the Center has become part of my yearly spring ritual. I renew my membership, pick out my 10 free seed packets, sign up for Sammy the tiller, if needed, and grab my bag of fertilizer for my asparagus rows. I always bring home more seeds than the allotted 10. They are such a great price. Tomatoes, peppers and herbs can be purchased later, at one of their sales. I now start my own plants from seed. Would you like to learn how to do that? KCCG offers a class for that! And classes on planting fruit trees, garden basics and weed and insect control. Go to kccg.org for more info.
The Center has many inspirational gardens to tour. I recently spoke with Angie Flora and asked her what her favorite part was about working at the KCCG.
“My time in the Beanstalk Garden. Doing the touch, smell, taste tours with the children and adults.” She loves encouraging the kids to try new vegetables and then hearing their reactions.
“These vegetables taste so different! So much better!”
Indeed they do. Nothing like a garden tomato.
Whether it be a large plot, a small raised bed or pots on the deck we city dwellers can all benefit from time spent outdoors, away from the artificial. For a season gardeners are tied to the earth, immersed in the elements, light and sound. Digging, hauling, planting, weeding, watering. It requires a good deal of effort. But the rewards are great and as it turns out the effort is part of the reward. Exercise, sunshine, grounding, microbes, and the best tasting tomatoes around. Found in our own backyard. Playing in the dirt. Earth Medicine.
Deborah Borel lives in south KC where she teaches hatha yoga & qigong and plays in the dirt. loudhousefarm.com yogabarnkc.com