My dad used to say when the world seems out of control, the garden persists. Last year was my first summer in my new house. I planted tomatoes and a bunch of flowers and enjoyed my very first garden. It was a lot of work, but it was fulfilling and therapeutic. This year, I had loftier designs.
In early spring, I recruited my mom and dad and niece and nephews to help me with a garden overhaul. We ripped out the crappy rock path that bordered the entire north side of my house, built two raised beds and laid hundreds of bricks to create a walkway. I planted flowers in the beds around my house, and in my new raised beds, I planted corn, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, peppers, raspberries, beets, carrots, spaghetti squash and pumpkins. It was perhaps a tad ambitious.
As the summer wore on, the abbondanza of the garden started to be overwhelming, but I loved doing the work. I loved coming home after staring at a computer all day to weed the flower beds. I loved watering everything by hand. I loved making dinners straight from the garden. It became my favorite hobby.
This weekend was my final harvest. I picked pumpkins, raspberries, and the last of the peppers and eggplant. The beets and carrots — which should have been done producing after the cool of the early summer — had been growing throughout the season and were again ready to be picked. I ended up with dozens of ears of glass gem corn that will decorate the holiday tables of my family and friends.
This has been a rough season to be an American. It's been a rough time to be a woman. The world has felt out of control, ugly, divisive and frightening. The garden can't fix this, but it can make it tolerable. From hauling bricks through the chilly spring rain, to guessing what 2 inches below the soil felt like for optimum seed placement, to picking the bugs off my tomato plants, I got to see the fruits of my labor. My plants grew and flourished regardless of the ugliness that surrounded. No matter what, the garden persisted.
I think that if gardening can get me through this brutal election season, it can get me through anything. Besides, if it all goes to shit after Tuesday, I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to survive with my mad beet-growing skills.
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