Who does not want to spend some time of the day in a garden? Who would not want to pick and eat some fresh vegetables and fruits from their own garden?
Yesterday, while working in my garden, I was wondering why do we love plants and flowers so much? Why do we love nature so much?
Soon after I found so many reasons. In the past, when the modern trade and market didn’t exist, home gardening was essential for growing food irrespective of whether people liked it or not. But that is just what anthropology says about our love for nature. We are connected to the nature in thousand more ways if not millions. Plants are foods we eat, clothes we wear, and oxygen we breathe. Period.
The ironic fact is that with the advancement in technology, we are being less and less connected to the nature. But our desire for connecting with nature is growing stronger as we get away from it. No doubt technology provides comfort. But we were not evolved to live in so much comfort, and we need physical activities to grow healthily.
But for me, there are more reasons for why I love nature and gardening. In fact gardening is in my blood. That is true for my wife as well. And that is probably true for everyone who grew up in the farms.
When I was a child, everything was grown at home back in Nepal. The only things that really needed to be purchased were salt and sugar. People in my village prepared their paddy field as soon as the monsoon arrived all the way from Bay of Bengal. For the next one month, people planted rice in their field. After harvesting rice, wheat was grown. Following wheat harvest, corn was grown. In the front yard and backyard, seasonal vegetables and fruits were grown. Oranges, Pears, Pineapple, Guava, Papaya, Litchi, Plum, and wild fruits took their turn and yielded fruits generously in different seasons.
That was only a few decades ago. Many things have changed now. But my desire to work in the farm and connect with nature has not. As soon as I moved to the University Apartments of UT in 2014, I started gardening by renting a plot from the University.
When we started gardening, we didn’t use gloves and shoes. Back in Nepal, nobody wore special gloves and shoes while working in the field. But that didn’t work here. There were a lot of ants in our plot. Initially we thought those are just ants, but they were not. They were fire ants capable of killing human beings. One day, when I accidentally touched the fire ants mound, I got attacked by the fire ants. I had to seek medical help and had to take some antihistamine wit the advice of a Nurse from University Health Services. After the incidence, we treated our garden for fire ants, and we now also (sometimes) use gloves and shoes.
When we started gardening last year, we were novice and didn’t understand the harsh climate of Texas. Now we know the favorable seasons for many of the vegetables that we like. But we learn new thing every season. Last summer, we learned that certain beans can withstand the heat. Last winter we knew that lettuce and cilantro do well in winter. We also knew that Cauliflower and Broccoli like cold. Cucumber and Tomato seem to like both spring and summer.
Gardening is difficult and it requires a lot of physical activities in collecting plants and seeds, digging and preparing the soil, removing weeds, installing trellis, and watering. But it is good. It is equivalent to working out and is healthy. In fact, you forget all the pain when it is time to harvest the fruits. Your satisfaction gets multiplied when you share the vegetables and fruits with your friends.
We went to the garden everyday and watched how small seeds that we sowed turned into green cilantro. We watched how a cucumber seed emerged out of the soil, followed the trellis, blossomed, and finally became an adult cucumber. We felt so good every time we went to the garden for watering in the evening.
Staying organic is great but it also has a cost. Weeds are the greatest problem. We have to remove them almost every week. And insects love plants as we do. Last winter, we welcomed beetles. Initially we thought that beetles are beautiful and we were happy that they liked our garden. But later, they spread allover the Colorado garden and destroyed the leaves of many plants.
Okay, back to my original point. I want to reiterate that it is very important to connect with nature because nature is essentially where we come from, where we live and where we ultimately go back. Connecting with nature brings positive vibes in life. There are many more ways to connect with nature apart from gardening. It could just be taking a walk along a trail, hiking, going to some public parks or it could just be looking out of the window, appreciating the greenness of the trees, and thanking them for being there for us. These days we are so much busy that we often forget where we are living. So it is important to take a pause and appreciate what is around us.
I hope this post will inspire you to connect with the nature more often. If you do not trust me, this Guardian article gives ten more scientific reasons for why we need more contact with nature. Another National Geographic article explains how connecting with nature boosts creativity and health.