By Sandy Kyriakopoulos, PsyD; Associate Vice President, Clinical and Community Integration at The Village for Families & Children
After many weeks of planning and preparation, I was finally able to plant my garden during Memorial Day weekend. This is the third year in a row that I secured a plot in our local community garden and each year I have learned something new about how and what I want to grow.
In the last month, I have spent hours selecting the type of fencing and weed block, as well as the vegetables and flowers to plant. I tried to use my past experiences to figure out which vegetables were the hardiest and the amount to plant. Last year, I very quickly learned that I am much better with starter plants as opposed to seedlings due to the conditions of the soil; however, my daughter wanted to try planting sunflower seeds, so we carefully followed the directions and hope that they will grow.
Now my job becomes to water and watch my garden grow. I will need to do some occasional weeding because that comes with having a garden. I will also need to monitor my plants and support them as they begin to grow—my tomato plants will need to be staked or caged in the next few weeks in preparation for rapid growth as the season progresses.
I like gardening. It provides me with a way to see the tangible results of my efforts. If the conditions are right and the plants receive the water and nutrients that they need, they will grow. It is very gratifying to see the results but I know that there are times when something will not go as planned.
Watching my garden grow shares similarities with the gradual re-opening of our nation from the COVID-19 pandemic. I can only imagine the amount of planning and preparation that the leaders of our agencies, cities and states have had to do—they are operating on a much larger scale than my 12×50 foot garden plot.
As we begin the process of re-opening the country, my belief is that there will be monitoring, supporting, and adjusting of the process. There may be areas or times where extra supports are needed, and times when everything is just right.
Gardening has taught me that patience is key. No matter how much I may want my plants to grow quickly, I must allow the plants to progress at their own pace and under the right conditions. So, I would ask that you continue to show patience and grace towards one another as we begin the process of re-opening, with the hope that we will all continue to gain strength and grow together again.