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Why gardening?

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Published on Friday, August 18, 2023


By Victoria Torley

Itís easy to get discouraged. This morning I went into the greenhouse and found that all my cucumber vines had shriveled and died, seemingly overnight.

Of course, itís not true. I missed something, of that Iím certain.

They must have been under attack for days and somehow I just didnít notice. Do you really notice a single brown leaf in the middle of other leaves? Oh, maybe to pick it off the vine but not to really look at it, study it and try to figure out why itís brown. If we did that, we would be examining every single leaf, every single plant more than once a day and get nothing else done.

There is so much more to do! I have three novels out there in the world Ė the ďOrb and ArrowĒ series and I am writing several more books. This column takes time as well, especially when someone asks a solid question like the one about the coconut palm beetle. 

Things like that take a lot of research. Wouldnít it be simpler, easier, to just go out and buy vegetables? I mean, really, who needs all this hard work? Somewhere, deep inside me, a little kid is jumping up and down shouting, ďI do! Me, me!Ē

ďSit down and stop that!Ē says my adult self, but she is irrepressible.

We can make it easier on ourselves. At present, and under doctorís orders, I garden in pots that sit on tables in the greenhouse, and I hate it, but back to the cucumbers. Why grow them?

There is something mystical about growing things with your own hands. Something powerful that connects you to the world in a way nothing else can. And thereís something wonderful about watching the fruit or vegetable grow larger until itís ready to pick. 

You can snap it off the plant or vine and be cooking within minutes or be plunked down into a salad to delight the taste buds. We know itís fresh, we know itís new, we know that no other hands have touched it. We know that it hasnít been rolled around and packaged by a machine thousands of miles away and been left sitting in a truck overnight. 

No, this tomato, this zucchini, this melon, is ours. Itís why we accept the work of gardening and the misery when something undefined attacks the cucumber vine just as the blossoms fall and the tiny vegetables emerge. We love it.

Plant for the week. You probably recognize the coffee beans on this branch, one already turning red and getting ready to be picked. If it werenít for the beans, we would probably pick the flowers for the manufacture of perfume, a field of coffee plants in bloom smells heavenly. Pick your variety carefully, some types prefer shade, some full sun. And plant more than one if you want your own coffee.

Find more amazing stories about gardening in Costa Rica on 
the AM Costa Rica Garden website. Regarding questions on this article, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at victoriatorley1@gmail.com.

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