farmer hands dirty and cupped

What is it About Gardening That is So Addicting?

farmer hands.

I’m reading through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now.

It’s slow going since my little one is nursing in sprints. I can’t blame her. There is a lot of action that goes on around here.

It’s a book that is insightful, entertaining with its wit, educational, and inspiring all wrapped up into a neat package. Complete with a few menu plans and tasty looking recipes. I appreciate her perspective on most issues. (We come from different world views as she sometimes appeals to an evolutionary perspective. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater though.) She makes a good case against veganism. And she has a passion for this lifestyle that I can identify with that is manifested in quotes like this.

Instead of the normal modern custom of working for money that I constantly exchanged for food, we worked directly for food, skipping all the middle steps. Basically this was about efficiency, I told myself- and I still do, on days when the work seems as overwhelming as any second job. But most of the time that job provides rewards far beyond the animal-vegetable paycheck. It gets a body outside for some part of every day to work the heart, lungs, and muscles you wouldn’t believe existed, providing a healthy balance to desk jobs that might otherwise render us chair potatoes. Instead of needing to drive to the gym, we walk up the hill to do pitchfork free weights, weed-pull yoga, and Hoe Master. No excuses. The weeds could win.

It is also noiseless in the garden: phone less, meditative, and beautiful… Nothing is more therapeutic than to walk up there and disappear into the yellow-green smell of the tomato rows for an hour to address the concerns of quieter, more manageable colleagues. Holding the soft, vinyl limbs as tender as babies’ wrists, I train them to their trellises, tidy the mulch at their feet, inhale the oxygen of their thanks.

Like our friend David who mediates on Creation while cultivating, I feel lucky to do work that  lets me listen to distant thunder an swatch a nest of baby chickadees fledge from their from their hole in the fencepost into the cucumber patch. Even the smallest backyard garden offers emotional rewards in the domain of the little miracle. As a hobby, this one could be considered bird-watching with benefits.

Every gardener I know is a junkie for the experience of being out there in the mud and fresh green growth. Why? An astute tomato therapist might diagnose us as codependent and sign us up for Tomato-Anon meetings. We love our gardens so much it hurts. For their sake we’ll bend over till our backs ache, yanking out fistfuls of quack grass by the roots as if we are tearing out the hair of the world. We lead our favorite hoe like a dance partner down one long row and up the next, in a dance marathon that leaves us exhausted. We scrutinize the yellow beetles with black polka dots that have suddenly appeared like chickenpox on the bean leaves. We spend hours bent to our crops as if enslaved, only now and then straightening our backs and wiping a hand across our sweaty brow, leaving it striped with mud like some child’s idea of war paint. What is it about gardening that is so addicting? 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – 10th anniversary edition: A Year of Food…
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kingsolver, Barbara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2024-05-22 at 19:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. me too! i’m reading it for the 2nd time…just got it from the library again wednesday. i read it the first time last summer. LOVE! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. So timely as I got this book from the library Thursday morning and love what I’ve read so far. I think I’ve said it before, but I really appreciate that you and others share my look on things that just because you don’t agree with EVERYTHING, it doesn’t mean that it is all rubbish. Have you read Poisonwood Bible? I enjoyed that book so much.

  3. LOVED that book. I ordered it from the library and didn’t pay attention to the format I ordered, and got the audio version. So glad I did! The audio version was read by Kingsolver herself. She has such a calming, wonderful voice and the cadence of her reading made me able to visualize all the happenings throughout the book.

  4. Quinn, I just received my used copy I purchased through Amazon. I have been attempting to read,but like you I have had to steal a minute here and there. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to dive in. The weather here in MI is started to warm up, 60’s today. Plan’s to be dry and warm tomorrow. Then some rain on Saturday night and Sunday. Perfect reading weather. I am looking forward to the warm and wet. Things will grow and the rain will help soak in all the POO in the pasture and yard. If you didn’t catch my comment on the Roast chicken recipe, I made this just a day or two after your new site came up! I did have to buy a store bought chicken, but HOLY chicken, it was fabulous. My husband doesn’t care for White meat, too dry, Not this one. The caramelized onion with the apples and pumpkin pie spice was great. I look forward to making other recipes. I did visit a small organic store on an outing and was pleased to find the Juniper berries to use for the rub on the Bacon recipe. Now I just need to get a pork belly from a local butcher. I have started my Journal, and I did prune apple tree’s and grape vines last week. You are really helping me stay on task. I feel like I am ahead on the game this year. Have a blessed night. Thanks for your motivation!!!!!

  5. I truly identify with this quote! ๐Ÿ™‚ Gardening is a fairly new love for me and my older children think I’m a little quirky about it. ๐Ÿ™‚ My little ones just love to be out there with me, helping, watching, playing and soaking it all in. Don’t get me wrong the older ones work hard with me but they don’t really get my love of it or ‘addiction’ to it. Oh well, I have no worries that one day they will get bitten with the gardening bug too. Thank you for all the inspiration that you send my way. You’re doing a terrific job! -Kim