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.