I’ve always considered myself a creative person. However, I’ve never had one true creative hobby I identified with. I “dabbled” in a million hobbies and projects but found it hard committing to one particular thing.
When I joined my community garden, I had only ever taken care of houseplants. I had never grown a vegetable in my life. My garden started as another thing to add to my long list of half-inspired hobbies. Little did I know that this garden would make me a more thoughtful and kind person.
The first community gardens in the U.S. began in the 1890s as a result of the economic recession. Using vacant lots, citizens could tend to their own gardens and find work when there were little jobs to go around.
Today, community gardens thrive in cities, large and small, all over the world. In New Haven, where I live, there are about 50 community gardens. In order to have a plot, you are required to take care of your own space and contribute at least one hour of your time to the community plots. At first, I was only there once a week doing my community time and tending to my little plot. These days I find myself there any day I am available.
In just a few short months, the benefits of gardening made waves in every aspect of my life. In the garden, I surround myself with constant growth. This inspires me to work on my personal growth through self-care the way I care for my garden.
Watching as plants grow from seeds, to seedlings, to harvestable vegetables is evidence that even through difficult situations, we can prosper. Gardening has allowed me to appreciate my journey in life. When life gets difficult, I remind myself despite flea beetles attacking my kale all spring, I am able to harvest sweet kale in abundance. If anything, my garden has given me a new and fresh perspective to life’s challenges.
The garden also allowed me to connect deeply with my neighborhood. I’ve met many people from various walks of life, all together to appreciate nature and nurturing our plants. Through the guidance and support of my community, I am now connected with nature in a way I never was before.
Starting a garden was a dream of mine for years. It was scary and difficult to walk into an unknown lot full of experienced gardeners. There have been plenty of missteps along the way. I didn’t thin the radishes, planted my onions too close together, and many other mistakes that would make expert gardeners cringe. However, with each challenge, I become more creative and knowledgeable in my gardening. I have found one hobby I truly love and am contributing to the community at the same time.
They say to do one thing every day that scares you. I believe that now more than ever. By overcoming my fears and committing to this hobby, I have seen myself grow alongside my vegetables.