This week consisted of mostly harvesting because so many of our plants are growing tremendous amounts of produce. We harvested blackberries, onions, cucumber, lemon cucumber, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, basil, figs, green beans, and peas. Even though all the people who helped that day each took large amounts of produce home there was still plenty for Julie, our food access and community connection intern, to take to food banks.
While harvesting, I asked Cherice which squash plants were ready to be harvested and which needed more time. Cherice pointed out the winter squash, that would still have several months before being ripe, and the summer squash plants that are currently producing copious amounts. If I were to try to harvest the winter squash now, it wouldn’t be edible, and it would take away from the delicious squash we would have been able to have a couple months from now.
This made me think of a few different aspects of human life, one being childhood. There are many children who come with their families to the garden. Most of the time they play and explore the outdoors, and sometimes they help with the simpler tasks of the garden. However, they are allowed to live their lives as children—playing and having fun. If children are given adult responsibilities too young, they usually aren’t able to handle that, and it also takes away from their childhood. In anything, if a person does it before they are trained or ready, it won’t work.
The months before a winter squash is ripe aren’t idle. They are spent growing and nurturing the plant. The years during childhood, or the training for a skill, aren’t idle. Letting children play and slowly learn about the world is not idle time. It is time for them to grow. Training for a skill ensures you will actually be able to carry it out properly. Don’t forget that time working towards a goal is time well spent!