GREEN & GROWING An Earth Day Garden: Food For Body & Soul

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

The best way to celebrate Earth Day is to celebrate the earth every day.  And what better way than to grow a garden, especially one that nourishes both body and soul.  The best way to connect with Mother Earth is to dig in her soil and eat fruits and food from that soil.  This food nourishes our bodies and the act of touching the earth nourishes our souls.

It is as if we have heard the call, perhaps from our ancient roots where all gardens were grown for food for the body, or from the earth itself, that we need to know the direct connection with the soil and the food we eat.  The desire and interest to grow our own food is exploding.  More and more seeds, plants, trees and shrubs that grow food are available at garden centers and in catalogs.  Organic methods and materials are available to find out about and to make use of. This desire and interest to grow edibles organically and sustainably is also translating into new, or perhaps very old, ways of looking at our soil, land and landscapes and seeing the potential to grow healthy food on every patch of soil in both urban and rural areas.

For too long we have thought of gardens as only something to look at.  Vegetable gardens have been quarantined to the back yard in box like shapes of rows and rows. It’s time to plant all our gardens as food for us, and the wildlife that lives here too.  It turns out edible vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and bushes can be as beautiful as plants that we consider only ornamental.  The spring blossoms of a fruit tree that fill the air with sweet fragrance will provide sweet fruit in later months.  The brightly colored foliage of many vegetable leaves can bring a rainbow of color to the garden.  Swiss Chard grows in pink, yellow and burgundy and is even called rainbow chard.  The colors of lettuce go from yellow chartreuse to dark purple red.  The flowers of purple coneflower turn to seeds that goldfinches feast on.   The ferny foliage of fennel adds a licorice taste to our food and also feeds the swallowtail caterpillars that turn into graceful butterflies.

Earth Day and EveryDay gardens can be grown in containers on the deck if that is all the space available. If you have any amount of soil in your yard, begin to see the potential for that soil to be a food growing garden that will also be as lovely as any garden to look at.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a garden designer, mandala artist and feng shui consultant.  Her artwork can be viewed on her website at www.gardensforthesoul.com. Contact her at 314-504-4266.