When you go online and do a basic Google search for beginner gardening, you’re going to find all kinds of pages giving you information about the best place to buy seeds, the best place to grow your garden, what kind of dirt you should have, some of the best tools available, et cetera. That’s all well and good but I think that it causes another problem, and that is information overload. People just don’t know where to begin. They’ve become paralyzed by the seemingly daunting task of growing simple plants from seeds in a pot or in their backyard because of too many options, and then the dream never comes to fruition.
Sure, I’ve also heard the old argument “well, I can just go to the grocery store and pick up what I need there for cheaper costs than what it takes to grow it in my back yard.” Absolutely, you can do that. But you’re missing out on something MUCH bigger. Contrary to what evolutionists think, I believe that everything on Earth has a purpose and that we were intentionally created to fulfill our purpose: to be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it, and glorify God in all that we do. Part of that is personally and cooperatively producing something on our own; we cannot continue to consume without negative effects on the mind or body. Mankind cannot grow or reproduce without proper food, and a quick look at Genesis 2:15 shows us that this is the first thing God had Adam do. “Welcome to Earth! Here’s how you make a hoe and rake, go eat and keep the Garden growing!” It’s been hardwired into us as the basic operating system to survive and thrive, no matter how much of a plant-murderer you think you are!
But there is another facet to this, besides just hard work and getting to eat. When you apply yourself to a project or task that benefits you in some way, your brain subconsciously goes to “the happy place”, and that is the best therapy you could ever ask for. Time seems to go by in a flash, you’re proud of the work you’ve accomplished, and you come back and do more of it later, maybe even at a higher level because you learned something from the last time! I’m a financial professional and gunsmith, not a doctor, but common sense and reasoning dictate that a tool built for a purpose operates at its best within the scope of that purpose!
You don’t remove a splinter with a hammer. But for some reason we expect humans to be cooped up in offices or factory jobs with emphasis on quantity of work, while feeding them heavily processed foods, preservatives, chemicals, toxins and more. And then we wonder why our performance isn’t up to par, or why we feel horrible, why these strange ailments arise, why depression, anxiety and mental illness are rampant in the United States. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes are three of leading causes of death in the state of Kentucky where I live, which can usually be linked to the aforementioned mental conditions and habits. If we’re trying to be something that we weren’t created to be, do you not think that’s going to lead to bodily malfunction? But how do we wind up there?
We eat for fuel. That makes us feel better, and those Libby’s Cheddar Pimento crackers are such a treat with all the preservatives and chemicals. Surely they won’t cause an imbalance in my hormones or pH system…oh wait, it’s been a couple of hours and now I feel bad,. I always feel better when I eat. Maybe some boxed Velveeta macaroni and chicken will help. And I can make it look like a gourmet meal with a few sprigs of parsley! I’ll even cut out the sugar with a Diet Pepsi and take a pic of the meal to put on my Instagram!
This is what your brain is telling you, and since a universal law of nature is that “energy follows the path of least resistance”, you take the easy route and get the quick, complex carbs with the addictive chemicals. Then you get the dopamine shot of “hey, I can post about the smallest action I took today and get “likes” on it” – and since your brain tells you that there are kids out there earning millions of dollars on “content creation”, surely your bit of creativity with a quick solution will be meaningful to someone and you’ll feel better! So then you post about it, get a few hits, it doesn’t go viral and you decide to play the “discover the algorithm” games about content creation. Meanwhile, you’re not feeling so great, so let’s snack on some spinach cheese dip with hydrogenates and high-fructose corn syrup – spinach is healthy, right?
Stop. See how that just went? We were on the benefits of gardening, and psychology, medical conditions, how they happen, poor and worse diets and the effects on the body, then on to feeding the distraction machine. It’s a vicious cycle with everything that pulls at us today! How do you break out of it?
By gardening. It’s what we specialize in as humans, so let’s get back to our purpose! “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it.” Put the phone in your sock drawer, go outside and fill a bucket with dirt, and plant a few seeds that grow into something you like to eat. I love fresh sliced tomatoes and a few shakes of pepper with herbs. You can grow those; grind the pepper up and put it on your tomato with that sprig of parsley or basil! Voila, in-house artisan dishes! Okay, so we can grow tomatoes, Chile peppers and herbs right there on the back porch, in pots, within reach, and it forces me to make a small investment of less than 10 minutes a day in something that I need to work at (consistency) to receive a benefit – one of my favorite healthy snacks! What would happen if I started a couple of new plants every 4-5 days? I’d have tomatoes and peppers everywhere! What would happen to my brain as a result of putting effort into a 65-100 day project (starting a garden) and reaping the rewards? Well, I’m not sure of how the scans would look, but I can guarantee you that since you’re making the effort to do something you’ve been specifically designed and created to do, you’ll feel happier! Happy people feel good and when people feel good, they do good, which tends to spread into other areas of their lives in a compounding effect. But we have to teach ourselves delayed gratification with something tangible, something we can observe on a daily basis and see measurable progress until the goal is reached!
Don’t get overwhelmed. Start with a 10’x10′ food plot and just take care of it for a few minutes a day this year. Maybe ten plants in pots. Maybe three. But START. Like I tell my clients in the financial business, you can’t harness the power of compound interest in your money without actions, so make it a quick, simple task that you can repeat, and be consistent. Energy follows the path of least resistance and we were created to take action (tend the Garden) and BE that resistance. Resistance isn’t easy, but with time and consistency you can overcome it and push through to new levels.
Inaction also compounds and leads to weakness. Through inaction, you choose to allow the common interests of life to act as “inflation”, which eats up your only real resource: your time. Compound interest works over time and rewards your habits, good or bad. Since you can’t get your time back, it’s vital to stay focused on what your goals are so that you can achieve them on your planned timeline – or before you pass away.
What are you planting this year?