“Thankful for communal life, neighbors, health care workers, God's grace, Nature's harvest.” -- Sister Ardeth Platte, OP
This urban garden is on the east side of our home, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington DC.
I asked to do the gardening three years ago when we moved here, but this is the first year that I’ve been here every day. (As you know we have been speaking about the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons all over the Country since 2017.)
I turned over the soil by shovel. I planted the 300 garlic patch per usual in the fall… am harvesting them now. I planted the first vegetable seeds in the last weeks of March as we isolated ourselves because of the pandemic. …lettuce, kale, collard and mustard greens, carrots, beets, radishes, peas, beans, following then with some plants of peppers and tomatoes, butternut squash, and then with seeds of eggplants, zucchini, melons, basil and cilantro. What joy to work in the Earth, thanking God for the rain, being able to talk to each plant peeking through the soil and then weeding each amazing row of food.
As I’m spending hours in the early morning and again in the later afternoon, neighbors walk by loving to admire the garden and my response is, “What would you like, I’ll pick it for you.” They usually choose greens. That provides double joy.
Carol [Carol Gilbert, OP] and I live with 16 or more people (at any given time): 5 Community Catholic Workers, and guest residents from Cuba, South Korea, Ecuador and mothers from Ethiopia with children. Bounty from the garden feeds us all. Residents request what they want to eat during the week and I harvest for them.
On Wednesday mornings the garden is open for people in need. I begin early in the morning filling large containers of every kind of food ready for harvesting. The people choose a variety. I also deliver food once a week to the two doctors and their newborn child living next door; they stagger their times at the hospital. I also send food to one of the parish priests weekly.
This is my resistance in this type of cloister in protecting others and being protected, always masked in presence with others and keeping distance. God is so good and is truly the Provider. And I am really grateful being Her gardener.