by Charlene Burgi
Wealth comes in many forms. Some people gauge their wealth by the accumulated value found in their portfolio and real estate holdings. Others measure their wealth compared to the possessions of their neighbors. An old friend of mine equated it to a full refrigerator. We all have our sense of what luxury means to us.
I thought back many years ago to when Jack completed a specific landscape job. The client commented she recognized the apex of her wealth the moment she was lying in bed and heard her irrigation system automatically turn on at five in the morning. This person lived in a beautiful country club home. Wealth by dollar standards held little significance for her. It was that automatic controller that topped her charts!
I remember laughing when she shared her revelation, but until recently I didn’t fully understand the significance of her statement. That sense of wealth came to me this last week when Jack and I went out to the greenhouse to harvest some cauliflower that we planted a few months ago. It is the dead of winter here, and by rights nothing should be germinating with the ground temperatures dropping with each cold snap. Yet we have beets, carrots, chard, parsley, garlic, shallots, lettuce and spinach sprouting out of the ground and waiting for the moment of harvest. The temperatures have dropped to single digits, winds have registered over 90 miles per hour, torrents of rain have fallen and those plants remained snug and secure through it all. I realized wealth for me meant fresh homegrown veggies year around! This is organic gardening at an optimum as we are tending to what we produce. The joy of watching tiny seeds come to life any time of the year topped my charts.
You, too, can achieve this type of wealth—and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. A homemade greenhouse using recycled materials, handmade cold or hot frames placed in a southern exposure, or even a hoop house built with PVC pipe and covered with clear plastic can provide the same type of year-round gardening. Try it! Tonight’s menu includes fresh steamed rainbow Swiss chard and cauliflower picked moments before cooking, tossed lightly with olive oil, a little crushed garlic and sea salt, and garnished with sesame seeds. Priceless!