Existing and Thriving with Plants
Hi, my name is Natalie and I love plants.
No really, I love them. Sometimes I think I came here just to witness them work their magic. Being a farmer to me is not just growing food. It’s watching the plants transform, learning about their cycles, and being completely left in awe by them — I swear watching a bee pollinate a strawberry flower the other day felt like a full-blown miracle.
Do you ever just think about photosynthesis? Or soil microbes? Or seeds? Or the mycelial network by which plants communicate? Or how plants find ways to defend themselves even though they are just (relatively) staying still? On that note, have you ever thought “if I sit here long enough, I’m pretty sure I could watch these pea greens grow.”
I went down a research study rabbit hole recently on the topic of how plants perceive sound. For example, there have been studies showing that certain sound frequencies can increase plants’ immunity, drought tolerance, and germination rates. And then there’s this: Flowers serve as an auditory sensory organ for plants, picking up the vibration of bees buzzing nearby and then sweetening their nectar in response. Oh, I wonder what my life would be like if I had flowers for ears…
Or, wait! What is this interconnected relationship where we breathe in oxygen, breathe out carbon dioxide, and the plants convert carbon dioxide into glucose, and they let oxygen back out into the air, for us to breathe? All because some chloroplasts found a way to transform sunlight into energy?! What is this MAGIC?!
You can chew on a fennel seed and stimulate your gastric juices. You can steep nettle in hot water and nourish your adrenal glands. You can smell rosemary and trigger a long lost memory. Everything in your CSA share this week (hello, first of the season turnips!) are magical little packages of sunlight, soil and water transformed into vitamins, minerals, and probably a whole ton of nutrients that we don’t even know about. There really is no end to the ways in which our human lives interplay with the plant kingdom.
I can’t pretend to grasp the complex science or get to the esoteric root of all this existence stuff. But, I’m a grateful participant. When I think of how we are playing a vital role in this whole dance, I’m all the more happy to water the plants and take some deep breaths.