Back in the day, my mother used to drag me out of bed to help her plant and water our garden. She had all types of flowers with an occasional vegetable, to which she was more than excited to dedicate her summer afternoon. But it didn’t stop there. Sometimes, she’d take us to a local farm and we’d spend the day picking crops from never ending rows of plants. With the sun shining on our backs, she taught me the difference between a ripe tomato and a bad one. I learned how to pick fruits that would last beyond a few days. And eventually, I learned how to keep our home garden from dying without her attention.
At times, we’d visit plant nurseries for hours upon hours, as she’d meticulously look for certain seeds, sort through half-grown but slightly dying plants, and step-by-step teach me the method to her madness. By the time we got to the car, I was exhausted, fingernails dirty, and ready to go home and take a shower. But I learned and slowly, my brown thumb turned green…more so against my will.
Gardening requires patience and a nurturing spirit that is hard to center in a fast-moving digital world. Seeds don’t transform overnight. Plants don’t bloom in a day. And crops certainly don’t arrive at the click of Diana Ross’ heels. While I’m still not the best gardener and would prefer to leave those duties to my mother, I have immense respect for men and women that tend to their own gardens. I have yet to consistently channel the power of the green thumb and remain in awe of my friends that find ways to grow vegetables in the back of their Brooklyn apartments.
Looking at our First Lady and the growing popularity of the slow food movement, perhaps, Americans are returning back to their roots and getting back to gardening. My mother still plants a mean garden even when I’m not around. But more importantly, I’m noticing the trend picking up among young people. We’re growing all types of plants in our spare time, whether for aesthetic or eating pleasure.
Do you have a green thumb? Are you a planting garden in your backyard? Or do you prefer to buy plants from the store and simply buy more when they dry out? Speak on it!
Read more posts celebrating Frugivore Month here.