Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

As the Summer wraps up, I can't help but look back at this years garden and consider where I am NOW compared to where I was THEN.  There's been a LOT of changes in the garden over the past three years.

Little did I know that the garden would also change me.

What I didn't know when I started all this is that it would be SO challenging.  

I came from the "stick a seed in the ground and watch it grow" mentality.  Like many newbies I thought my garden would always look pretty.  That bugs would bother someone elses garden, not mine.  That the food that I grew would be abundant and flavorful and I'd hardly have to lift a finger to get it to that point. 

My first year was a bit of dud, mostly of my own making.  I underestimated the importance of soil preparation.

The second year was MUCH better soil wise.  I experimented with more varieties of plants and had a bumper tomato harvest.  I was pretty happy with my 2011 garden.

This past year was a bit like a skipping stone.  The weather, bugs and seed germination were among some of my biggest problems.  Plus I got greedy. 

I expanded the garden but made the same soil prep mistakes I made my first year out.  So the tomatoes suffered trying to grow in a raw, barely amended soil.  Bugs came a-knocking and with my organic mindset, settled in and called it home.  I became allergic to the heat (with my hot-flashes) and discovered the lazy joy of freezing any abundance I had rather than stand over a canner and preserve it that way.  Plus frozen peas sure feel good on the neck don't they?

Along the way, I feel like my hopes for the garden are starting to change.

My original motivation to start fruit and veggie gardening was largely because I hoped to help cut the cost of my grocery bill by being able to provide some of this stuff myself.  SM and I, like many others, are going to be faced with a "tight" financial retirement in the near future and anything I could do now to learn this "grow your own thing" might help us out later when our cash cushion is gone.  

The other reason was that I was looking for a hobby.   I admit it.   I was bored.  There's only so much 9-5 work a girl can do.  The work week was a "rinse-repeat" of habit and routine.  Same ol, same ol.  Gardening, on the other hand is fun.  Yes, it is!  It's also frustrating, (pull your hair out frustrating) but one thing it isn't is boring.

So while I do still get a thrill with a successful harvest...(Yeah Me!)...I've also gotten to the point where I've learned that some things are just NOT worth growing.  And not worth crying over. 

I've come to the realization that I can't grow everything I want. 

That I'll still be relying on the market for the foods that SM and I can't grow. 

That I need to respect the Summer heat MUCH more than I have been.  The
garden goes into a heat coma right around August.  Nothing much happens out there but watch the weeds grow.

That my garden can offer me beauty in the form of flowers.  That I'd like to add more birdhouses and humor to the garden. 

So is my garden changing to reflect the changes in me?  I'd like to think so.

I want it easy.  (Who doesn't)?

I want it pretty.  (Well, duh...)

But I still want it.  The garden that is. 

I'm not ready yet to throw in the towel.  Not even after having a bad year like this one was. 

5 comments:

  1. tami - I swear by my shadecloth veggie patch - keeps my ground (veggies) cooler in summer, and I've just found out that it keeps the frost off in winter :) Best of both worlds.

    And yeah, I'm also trying to supplement our costs by producing what we eat. I have learn't though that I can't grow everything, and I now focus on what I can grow, and grow well. That way I have some harvest to put away for the colder months.

    Tomatoes - they're my favourites. They grow well and are such a versatile ingredient to almost every meal that comes out of my kitchen.

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  2. It takes a couple years just to get a new garden spot in shape and by then the bugs have moved in. I don't plant some of the bugs favorites every year to try and break the cycle. I planted potatoes this year after not having them for several years and didn't see a single potato bug and I may get away with it next year but not a third. Beans are getting ravaged by mexican bean beetles so I will not plant many if at all next year.

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  3. SO glad to hear you're still enthused about gardening. This past year, I'm afraid, has scared a lot of gardeners away forever. Especially those gardening for the first time which is unfortunate.

    You're such a quick learner and willing to make intelligent changes. Each year is different (or at least it seems to me) so even the things that work one year, don't necessarily do the same the next. So we do have to be willing to experiment and change.

    Don't forget the other BIG benefit of gardening --- wonderful exercise that enables us to keep our bodies (hot flashes or no!) in good shape!!

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  4. So glad you kept your great attitude despite a "challenging" year. But that is also one of the benefits of gardening---we become delusional (hahahaha) after a bit. And we live forever, because there is always NEXT YEAR--and we gotta stick around for it.

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  5. I know just how you feel. Your garden has been much more sucessful than mine, so I admire your tenaciousness. We learn and grow right along with our gardens. Enjoy all that you've created!

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