July 2, 2012 — Catawba River District Voices
One of my kids confessed something I never thought I’d ever hear in my lifetime. It was shocking to say the least. This child, who will remain nameless for fear that the other siblings will rise up in protest, admitted that he/she actually likes to weed the garden!
There we were, out sweating up a storm amidst the okra, and this bomb gets dropped on me. What should I do? Raise my hands to the sky? Feel this child’s forehead for a fever? Go post this admission on Facebook? (Well, I guess I’m guilty of making a blog entry about it.)
Actually, I understand this admission all too well. It’s not the actual pulling of weeds that gives satisfaction, but rather seeing the before and after shot of a row picked clean on those menacing weeds. Neat and tidy … at least for a day or two.
Weeding can actually be good for your brain!
But there are other benefits to cleaning up a vegetable patch. It gives you time to think. Sometimes when I’m trying to figure something out, having my hands perform a repetitive and mundane task frees my brain to come up with a solution. There have been studies done with students who are asked to memorize facts or study material while they bounce a ball, rock in their chair or engage in some other repetitive motion. Their brains are better able to grasp the material when their body is in motion.
I know that many a problem has been solved at our farm as we engage in the mundane art of weed pulling. My offspring confirmed this, adding that it’s peaceful in the garden.
As CSA members pull weeds, we pull together
Something else I’ve noticed, especially with our CSA members: weeding builds community. Our group is quite diverse especially in age, and it’s sometimes hard to break the ice by merely sitting around talking. Having a task to perform together allows a conversation to flow naturally.
This is especially true with quiet types such as myself. Digging a little, talking a little, pulling a little and then talking a little more isn’t threatening and there isn’t pressure to hold up your end of the conversation.
If you can get your children out in the garden, you might be surprised what fun and interesting tid-bits they mention to you. I know it’s happened to me!