• Melanie

How I Unwind: In the Garden

When I moved to Nashville almost nine years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't know very much about the city, I didn't have a job, and I moved from a modest one-bedroom apartment in Chicago to a small two-bedroom house on a large plot of land. As it turns out, I became a gardener.

The first time Bill and I had a vegetable garden, our tomatoes grew eight feet tall and produced like crazy. Since then, we've expanded to two raised beds along the back of the house, and this year have dug up about 1200 square feet in the side yard for a large-scale kitchen garden. We also added a greenhouse this past winter. The gardens are bigger than the house at this point.

As much as gardening is hard work, I love being in tune with the seasonal cycles. I spend so much of my professional time looking at screens and analyzing that it's a relief to spend some time with my hands in the dirt. It's visually and spiritually satisfying to see flowers in bloom, it's economical to propagate plants we like, and there's nothing like growing delicious, fresh food.

Since I do a good amount of sitting during my working hours, gardening is also a great way to get out and get some exercise. Digging, lifting, pushing and pulling are all part of yard and garden maintenance, and even spending thirty minutes getting a task done can work a lot of different muscles.

I've also found that gardening is a great way to exercise my planning and

organizational skills. This is year two of trying to start our vegetable garden from seed, and I learned a lot from year one (gardening is also very humbling). I started my garden and seed-starting plans back in December, and it's helped me stay focused and not get overwhelmed by the size of the task in front of me.

This probably doesn't sound very relaxing, but it brings a level of balance into my life that some of my other hobbies don't. Spending time in the garden recharges me and helps me stay sharp for the many challenges that come with running a business.

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