I decided to expand our garden this past year and did it using only hand tools. I knew it would be a lot of work and that's one of the reasons why I undertook the project. Living where I do and at the time that I do, there's no need for me to dig a garden and watch it grow. But, then again, that may be exactly why we need to tend gardens. Because we think we don't need them. I got a hold of some heirloom pea seeds last year and planted them this spring. Known as St. Hubert peas, they were introduced to the St. Lawrence Valley by French settlers in the 1700s.
It wasn't until I began doing a little research on heirlooms that I learned just how diverse the plant kingdom actually is. Most of the known cultivars of plant species never make it onto the kitchen tables of industrialized countries and, as a result, many have disappeared in the past two centuries. However, some heirloom gardeners are attempting to either reverse or stall this trend by preserving these old varieties. Most simply enjoy the pleasures that go along with gardening in general. Those pleasures are hard to convey through writing but as tedious and as dirty as it is, there's something innate in the work. Something therapeutic. I'll just say this. I never used to be a big salad eater but that changed when it came from our own garden.
"Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God." - Ecclesiastes 2:24