Where there is a will there is a way

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Space to Grow - my chilli plants' life lesson

One great thing about gardening - which is essentially nurturing the land - is that you get some great lessons on how nature works. Of course, this applies to human lives as well. You just feel these lessons about life so closely when you are out there gardening (or interacting in nature in any way, e.g. camping, hiking, working with wood).

This year Shane bought some chilli plant seedlings at what turned out to be the perfect time of year. However, he insisted on planting them right next to each other on one of our thin balcony planters which run along the edge of our raised gardens. Despite his protests, I moved two of the plants to the large raised bed above, with generous space all around them. The other three I spaced out further from each other and left them where he had wanted them.

The two with the spacious environment and heaps of fertile soil above became huge bushes, generously producing buckets upon buckets of large, shiny green delicious chillies. The other three in the cramped space fought against each other and eventually produced a few mid-sized chillies at the end of the season.

What did I learn from this? It's not just the genetics of the plant, it's the environment that allows the plant to really develop. This is something that gardening teaches all the time - as it's the soil and conditions around a plant that really allow it to thrive. That's just like children, I think. The genes are important, but one they've got them, what really makes the difference is the environment they are provided in which they can thrive.

I also know this as I was provided with an environment when I was growing up where I did really well - not due to being stronger by nature - I could feel, but by being nurtured and allowed space to grow, play, discover, make things, a place with some wildness to explore...we were able to develop fully.

I am so relieved that now the my kids are in the neighbourhood we live in now (we used to live in a cramped city suburb) that they will have space they need to grow.

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