So I’ve decided to start this blog.
I think many of us consider starting one at some point. What is it that holds us back? Illusions that my experiences, and writing about them, would be boring had plagued me for a long time – but so much more powerful were my internal affirmations that I do possess useful information, and that I can be of help and inspiration to others.
These statements supported by many diverse experiences and diligent practice of my trade – organic food gardening – successes and mistakes duly recorded and reflected upon.
That’s really what it took for me to start this. Digging through mounds of knowledge before I felt what I had uncovered was worth sharing with you. Dozens of books poured over. Hundreds of gardens tended, thousands of seeds planted, sprouted, thinned and mothered into harvested fruits. Only then were they enjoyed straight off the vine. And here I am, pouring all of my experiences, and my heart and soul, right out into the vastness of the internet. And it feels good.
Organic Gardening Lesson #1 of infinite: Harboring insecurities when gardening is like wearing a short leash wrapped around a thick tree. Don’t ever allow your insecurities to choke you of your intentions. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t put yourself, and a few seeds and plants, out there – guaranteed. Through Heirloom Soul, I want to guide and encourage you to do so.
It’s necessary to share our emotions in this work. Gardening is more than a mechanical process, and so should the words I write reflect that. Growing food in particular is a highly intuitive, spiritual practice – an heirloom tradition whispered by thousands of years of our ancestry, and a practice that, only until the past 60 years or so, has significantly changed. It is a process that requires punctuality, risk and endless reflection, and in return, provides mindfulness, gratitude, heightened awareness and compassion. Growing food organically allows us to become more in tune with ourselves and our surroundings than we’ve ever been, and to blossom into the people that we have always imagined ourselves to be.
Heirloom Soul is a place with real, passionate intentions. I hope that every person, whether a seasoned organic gardener or someone merely interested in the practice, will find useful information and uplifting encouragement in my words.
To be more specific (and to keep myself on track), the intentions of this blog are:
1) To provide the best, concise, detailed advice on growing organic vegetables, fruits and herbs in the Midwest.
Let me be honest: There is an overwhelming load of gardening advice on the internet that is wacky, unsustainable, and destructive to our planet – and a lot of it is just wrong! How do we sort through the junk? I want to put an end to all the confusion that prevented me from knowing how, when and where to start. All the information related to organic gardening in this blog is compiled from my own real life experiences growing over 150 unique spaces (including urban farms, backyards and school gardens) and helping grow tens of thousands of pounds of organic food from Michigan to Wisconsin. Credit to other sources will always be given where credit is due.
2) To encourage new organic gardeners to break through their fears (yes, fears! It’s okay to have those!) and just start gardening.
I don’t think most of us get enough general daily life encouragement, especially as we age. Growing up is an ever-changing process, much like growing food, and no one should be expected to have it all figured out. Ever. The way we growers do things in our gardens reflects that. One of my favorite aspects of working with plants is that there is no single “right” way to do something – I will say this over and over again. Simple example: There will be multiple ways to stake up your tomato plants, but you won’t know what works best for you and your growing space until you try a few different methods. Perhaps the only definitive point about gardening that I will attempt to make is this: anyone can grow their own food. This is coming from someone who has gardened with 2-year-olds and 82-year-olds. All we need is a bit of encouragement along the way.
3) To cultivate a place of love, acceptance and respect for ourselves and our planet.
Because there’s so much room in our lives for more of these things. Almost everyone lives in a constant state of hurry while I constantly wonder, what in the world for? Just ask yourself: For what am I stressing? For what am I missing the peace in this moment? Growing food has slowed me down quite a bit. My entire life I have stopped to smell roses, but now I’m even more of a ‘let us lay down and imagine the grass grows ‘til it pokes our backs and watch the ants go marching’ type. I understand a slower life is unrealistic for many, but you absolutely do have time to be mindful for a few moments out of each day. There is so much joy in the present moment. Once we are able to appreciate the present, only then can we fully experience love, acceptance and respect for ourselves and everyone else.
The life we have been given deserves to have meaning. Every tiny piece of it. My interpretation of a meaningful life has so far been realized through my work with plants and connecting people back to our natural, agricultural roots. It is not a solitary practice.
What I’ll say to people is, So I have this blog now. I call it Heirloom Soul. It’s a place where I can give the best, comprehensible advice on organic food gardening and edible landscaping. It’s an open-ended, honest conversation with everyone who wants to participate. It’s a place where we can all learn together. It’s a guide for all of us who live in pursuit of wholeness. And it’s an ode to the respect we have for ourselves and our earth. Here, together, we nurture our heirloom souls.
With love and admiration,