Planning Your Garden, Part 2: Flowers and Veggies Together

Planning Your Garden, Part 2: Flowers and Veggies Together

I recently learned something about why it’s great to plant certain flowers near specific vegetables. I knew a few basics: that marigolds deter pests and sweet alyssum is great next to your kale, broccoli, collards and other brassicas. But why? Well, let’s start with marigolds. And note that there are different varieties of marigolds. You can grow the average size, from about 18-24 inches high, or you might prefer, as I do, the dwarf size. These...

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Planning Your Garden, Part 1: Companion Plants

Planning Your Garden, Part 1: Companion Plants

“I planted peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and zucchini,” a neighbor told me. “The tomatoes aren’t growing at all, and the cucumbers are really struggling. How do you get your vegetables to grow so full and productively?” I hear these questions often. There are some basics that might seem obvious: a spot with enough sun and soil, the proper amount of water. But there are many more elements that contribute to a successful garden that many of...

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Mindfulness, Chocolate and Walking

Mindfulness, Chocolate and Walking

When you think of mindfulness, what comes to mind? I recognize that’s a pun of sorts. Apologies. When someone tells us to be mindful of something, they are seeking for us to pay attention, to focus ourselves to make sure we are present for a particular event, thought, or activity. Teaching mindfulness has the same goal. We begin with paying attention to simple things, perhaps how we eat a piece of chocolate or a raisin. Bringing our awareness...

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Unexpected Interweavings

Unexpected Interweavings

Life is filled with unexpected interweavings, cycles and circles. I experienced some of these this past week on my JMMTT – Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training – at Isabella Freedman retreat center and farm. Nestled in the woods of Falls Village, CT, about 90 minutes from the nearest airport, the center boasts trails and a pond, several greenhouses, a large network of yards and structures for goats and chickens, and extensive fields...

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How Do We Measure Success?

How Do We Measure Success?

Working with people is the  joy of our work here at In the Gardens, whether it is helping them discover a love of fresh food as they grow and harvest, or guiding them to greater balance in their actions with self and others through mindfulness practice. It is in our interactions with the people that we serve and employ, our volunteers, and our donors that we fulfill our mission. Here are some of the distinct ways that we measure our success: We...

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Listening to the Silence

Listening to the Silence

I spent last week in silence. I was at the JMMTT—Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training—a 15-month program that began last May. It is an advanced step from the 18-month Clergy Leadership Program in mindfulness practices that I completed a year ago July. As I posted on my Facebook page, I celebrated my birthday in silence. That was different. I also observed Election Day in silence. Our retreat guides were sensitive enough to the issues...

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