So, quite by a lucky chance, I started gardening in late December. Now I have a small garden on the terrace and I couldn’t be happier.
I planted sorrel seeds and hoped some of them would germinate. To my delight, all of them germinated which also meant that the rather huge pot I put those seeds in, was (over) crowded. I harvested scallions, carrots, and Amarnath leaves. Now I have mint, Musk Mellon or Cantaloupe, watermelon (I am not sure will survive), cucumber, purslane, curry tree, coriander growing. I couldn’t be happier.
Every time I harvest something, I make it a point to turn the earth in that pot. Gardening does not just lower your cortisol (the stress hormone which is also responsible for the feeling of hunger. Normally, body increases cortisol levels which reaches its maximum by noon, lunch time, and then gradually lowers and reaches it minimum just in time for you to sleep without any hunger pangs.), but also the wet soil/dirt smell increases serotonin and the joy of seeing leaves or fruit triggers the release of dopamine (both are happy hormones).
But apart from all this, what else did I learn from my new hobby?
1. Plants are not competitive at all. They share resources. Be it water, or manure, they don’t fight to get the most of it. Why do I say this? A lot of sorrel seeds germinated in one pot, and in another just 2 or 3. Those 2 or 3 plants in one pot grew taller and thicker than those teeny tiny sorrel plants in the overcrowded pot. Not one plant was thicker or taller than the other. They grew together at the same pace.
2. In another pot, Basil grew in the same pot as the sorrel plants, I didn’t plant it, I am thinking a dormant seed lay there. So the Basil plant grew with its leaves close to it’s main stem so as not to disturb the plants already growing in there. As soon as it outgrew the other plants, it spread its leaves and leetle branches out.
3. In another pot, grew Garbanzo plant and carrots. The Garbanzo plant which is harvested quite quickly grew into the carrot shoots to my surprise. Why, I asked myself. Carrot shoots can take the heat. Garbanzo cannot. So it took shelter in the carrot shoots. The carrot shoots did not seem to mind that at all.
Plants have a great deal to teach us. Only if we are ready to observe, learn, and hopefully incorporate it in out lifestyles as well. They are amazing, these plants. They teach us holistic living. They teach us the spirit of co-operation. They teach us that a highly competitive and sometimes combative world is a world of our own making. We could also make a world of love and peace where there is no hiererchy. A world where we can all share resources. But more than anything, a world in and to which we give more than we take. After all, borrowed planet, and borrowed time folks.
Also, welcome summer! That time of the year when plants can grow happily, provided they are watered twice a day. Yay!