seed planting

Water, light and food.

If wall charts could talk, they’d tell you these are the things plants need to survive, to advance from seeds into leaf bearers.

how to grow cattywampusWall charts work better, of course, with human interpreters: gardeners, farmers, teachers. It’s one thing to diagram photosynthesis but another to act out how plants grow cattywampus if they don’t get even amounts of light. It’s one thing to talk about calculating dehydration but another to stick your finger in the dirt.

Water, light, food.

And love, a gardener might add, noting that gardens need careful nurturing in order to bloom, that their beauty never comes from following a soulless diagram. Plants crave companionship and care as much as people do.

Water, light, food, love.

hoop house tour, august 2013farm tour, august 2013sample harvest, august 2013

And time, the farmer would say, for nothing comes to full harvest overnight. You must have patience when helping things grow, an unhurried understanding of how different things mature differently.

Water, light, food, love, time.

Grahamwood Gardens 2012

And change, nudges the teacher. Cultivating the exact same thing in exactly the same place eventually depletes every richness. Sometimes, oftentimes, reaching the next stage of growth requires a different environment. Seedlings outgrow their cups; fields and crops must rotate. All of us must move on.

Water, light, food, love, time and change.

teachers and farmers
Mr. Emerson, my children’s fifth grade teacher, with Lauren Bangassar (Farmer Lauren), who is leaving Grahamwood to build 100 local gardens for The Kitchen Community.

Happy week.


  1. Ah, a lovely tribute to those things (and people) who grow and change… like your lovely children and Farmer Lauren.
    Where would we be without our community gardens? Drove by my CSA farm stand today to see it still covered in snow. Still. Can’t wait to put our fingers in the dirt, to eat things right off the vine, to be surprised at what the season has brought us (which is usually more celeriac.)
    Enjoy the smell of dirt for the rest of us, okay?


  2. I once lost a grant in the finals to a couple who were using large scale negatives and sunlight to grow grass, reproducing the photo in 3D. Damn creativity.


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