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The Slow Grow

Why planting is enchanting

Person holding herbs
Photography by NordWood

“While you’re outside, can you grab me some rosemary for the potatoes?” asks my girlfriend, yelling from the kitchen. This is a common request when we cook together. No matter what is on the menu, we wrestle some of our herb garden residents into the dish.

It’s a modest cohort containing bay, rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage, mint, and parsley. Their vastly differing tastes supplement anything we can think of in the kitchen—lavender, mint, watermelon, and feta, anyone? Try it.

Minimalism is about reducing the influx of needs and stimuli that you do not want. It opens doors and gives you time back to cultivate interests that, moments before, lay dormant in your mind. I have found growing to be a deeply satisfying hobby. It attracts and bolsters my values. I now spend more time in nature, I learn something every day, and have become more aware of the importance of regional reliance.

At the same time, I have taken positive steps in areas that are increasingly meaningful to me; reducing plastics, food-miles, and stress. Growing plants is mostly easy—the hard work is done by the sun—and it strikes a common intersection in my adopted (and then sustained) hobbies. It makes more sense to me on some fundamental level. It’s sustainable, yet endless.

It begins with small steps—a pinch of seeds, a basil cutting, or a food book/TV show. You will fall in love with the process. Think back to your childhood; there were moments where new pathways suddenly became visible in your imagination.

Walking down a modern supermarket is a surreal experience. Oranges from Florida, water from Fiji, and Tuscan biscuits from Florence. We can see the world. We can touch it. We can buy it. The colors and tangibility are mesmerizing, but there are hidden costs—we lose our locality, our grandparents’ gardening practices, our appreciation of the weather, and the process of cultivating nature.

All it takes is one step. Stick something in the ground and see what happens.

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