By John Pierce

Recently, our 12-year-old said she’d like a little garden spot to grow some tomatoes and peppers this year. One of my favorite therapies is designing and digging, so I started plotting a plot.

Living on a wooded acre with rolling hills and hardwoods that remind me of my Northwest Georgia roots, it was hard to find a suitable flat area with full sun. But finally the backyard site was selected and the current plants were relocated.

Over the last couple of weeks I have joyfully given time and sweat to the creation of a garden spot that I hope is both attractive and productive.

After erecting walls of fieldstone and adding steppingstones from the grass to the garden, I began filling the raised bed with a good mixture of soil and additives.

Receipts from my visits to the stone yard and home improvement store were tossed on the desk of my home study each evening. The pile has been growing.

But I decided to file them away without adding the totals together. I don’t want the amassed sum to take away from the pleasure of my work.

However, my mind did recall a book by William Alexander a few years ago titled The 64-Dollar Tomato.

Alexander totaled up all he spent on creating and caring for his garden — and concluded that each tomato cost him about $64. However, he paid professionals to do the construction work that, in my opinion, takes away from a major reason for doing the project: manual labor that relieves the mind and strengthens the body.

So the cost of whatever grows in this new garden will remain a mystery. I’m more concerned about what good comes from the whole experience — much of which cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

And even Alexander expressed no regrets about the high-priced tomatoes that came from his garden project.

“On a good day, with the sun shining and the soil warmer than the air, knowing that that the best BLT in the world is a couple of weeks or months away, it seems like every dollar … was worth it,” he said.

 I would add: “…and every drop of sweat.”

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