Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sharing and Trading in the Garden

An aspect of gardening that I really appreciate is the desire to share with others. Sharing tips, sharing tricks, sharing tools, sharing plants. When I began to get more interested in gardening, as an adult, my mom dug up a bunch of starter plants for me to transplant to our front yard- Hostas, Burning Bush, Echinacea, and more. These became the foundation for our garden.

I have shared seed starting knowledge and supplies with my mom, carting down shop lights, pots, and trays for her to start her own seeds this season. I call my granddad, whose family owned a tree nursery for many years, to see what his plans for growing topsy-turvy tomatoes are this year.

The act of sharing these items and tips goes beyond the thankfulness I feel in that moment. It's the stories that are shared while gardening, the mutual knowledge that is gained, the plants that have a chance at new life and propagation elsewhere that means the most.

On our most recent visit, my mom brought with her some leeks- lots of leeks! Wrapped in a plastic bag, like a weird black-market type of trade, they got passed from my car to hers. Upon returning home, it was easy to see that I don't have a need for literally 100-150 leeks.

I put the word out on our city's Transition Town facebook page, and that day, I had at least 5 responses, from people who like to take a few leeks for their own garden! Again, the actual giving of the leeks was nice enough, but the generosity I got in return was unexpected.

My neighbor two doors down traded me leeks for some heirloom spring onions. They're from her partner's family's farm, and now they are here, planted in my garden. It's nice to think that we'll have leeks from the same place, growing at our respective houses, and it was a nice way to start up a conversation about gardening and family.

A friend who is involved in the donation garden at our local college also messaged me- she'll be pick up leeks for The Giving Garden EMU on Saturday, and the students and the community will get to enjoy them!
I conversed with a nice guy from Transition page on facebook, and he stopped by yesterday. I gave him some leeks, and he brought some Wild Chicory and Annise Hissop seeds to share. I'll be researching to learn more about these plants, where to plant them, how to use them.

Not only 
was the sharing I benefited from thoughtful, but these are three new plants I wouldn't not have otherwise discovered. The fact that each plant I've just added to my garden has a story that can be passed on to the next person that I share these things with- I just love that! You don't get into gardening for the sharing- or at least most don't. But the generosity of people who share that value of growing and cultivating things from seeds- sometimes it will surprise you!

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