DAILY FARM LIFE / IN MY KITCHEN / life on thomas run

the hesitant gardener

the garden goes in

Our garden is going in. Each night a few more things get planted. Each weekend, I stop at The Mill for a few more packets of seeds.

I have to admit, I'm not doing much gardening. Dan is the master-gardener in this house. My main job is chief errand-runner, chief "what to plant" decision-maker.

My work doesn't really kick-in until mid to late summer when things start appearing, needing to be harvested and cooked up and frozen and canned.

I'm guilty of being very ambitious in the cool, crisp days of Spring when anything feels possible and enthusiasm is at its peak. Unfortunately when my work really begins to matter we are in the dredges of hot, humid, sticky summer days when the last place I want to be is bent over a steaming pot in my sticky, non-air-conditioned farmhouse kitchen. Summer tends to suck the life out of me.

the garden goes in

So each year we try to make a few adjustments to what we plant. Last year, we (probably me) made the mistake of putting in way too much corn. Even with staggered planting it was too much. In summer's heat I was never very enthusiastic about a large pot of water boiling in my kitchen and I lost all enthusiasm for slicing corn off ears, blanching and freezing.

So this year, there's no corn. I'll simply get what I want, when I want it, from a local farm stand.

the garden goes in

This year there are more grean beans. More onions. More potatoes. There will be tomatoes, despite last year's disastrous crop that was almost a complete loss. There is spinach. And cabbage (for my cole-slaw loving child), and brooccoli.

...I am not

I am no green thumb. In fact, I wear green gardening gloves just so that I can pretend to have one. Each year, we learn something new. Adjust, change our plans, make vows for next year's garden.

the garden goes in

And I silently stand back and pray for a miraculous cool breeze blowing through my kitchen on the day that all the green beans are ready to harvest.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

What's going on in your garden these days? I'd LOVE to hear.

the garden goes in

Our garden is going in. Each night a few more things get planted. Each weekend, I stop at The Mill for a few more packets of seeds.

I have to admit, I'm not doing much gardening. Dan is the master-gardener in this house. My main job is chief errand-runner, chief "what to plant" decision-maker.

My work doesn't really kick-in until mid to late summer when things start appearing, needing to be harvested and cooked up and frozen and canned.

I'm guilty of being very ambitious in the cool, crisp days of Spring when anything feels possible and enthusiasm is at its peak. Unfortunately when my work really begins to matter we are in the dredges of hot, humid, sticky summer days when the last place I want to be is bent over a steaming pot in my sticky, non-air-conditioned farmhouse kitchen. Summer tends to suck the life out of me.

the garden goes in

So each year we try to make a few adjustments to what we plant. Last year, we (probably me) made the mistake of putting in way too much corn. Even with staggered planting it was too much. In summer's heat I was never very enthusiastic about a large pot of water boiling in my kitchen and I lost all enthusiasm for slicing corn off ears, blanching and freezing.

So this year, there's no corn. I'll simply get what I want, when I want it, from a local farm stand.

the garden goes in

This year there are more grean beans. More onions. More potatoes. There will be tomatoes, despite last year's disastrous crop that was almost a complete loss. There is spinach. And cabbage (for my cole-slaw loving child), and brooccoli.

...I am not

I am no green thumb. In fact, I wear green gardening gloves just so that I can pretend to have one. Each year, we learn something new. Adjust, change our plans, make vows for next year's garden.

the garden goes in

And I silently stand back and pray for a miraculous cool breeze blowing through my kitchen on the day that all the green beans are ready to harvest.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

What's going on in your garden these days? I'd LOVE to hear.

20 comments on “the hesitant gardener”

  1. i think any gardener is the same as you- learning new things each year. making adjustments.

    i just planted my onions (first time growing them) this weekend. and my peas, radishes, arugula, lettuce, and carrots are starting to sprout. it’s an exciting time, this early spring, when possibility is all around.

  2. Planting and planning are fun, but then I get all stressed out until I see the first sprout pop its head up. My peas are just showing themselves now, so there is at least one bed that I can stop worrying over. I’m just no good when I can’t see anything happening down there!

  3. We have a much smaller garden space than yours, but it’s packed full of lettuce greens (already harvesting), mustard greens, kale, rainbow chard, peas, beans, carrots, leeks, broccoli, broccoli rabe, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and garlic. We still need to plant the “summer” veggies – squashes and cucumbers, etc. I’m really excited. Gardening was very unsuccessful in Phoenix, so I may be over enthusiastic this year. Talk to me in August.

  4. We split the labor here too: my husband likes to plow, plant, and water; I like to weed and harvest. Well-matched, eh?

    Here in the cool northwest we plant lots of greens inside a really tall fence to keep the deer out. Also potatoes, onions, and flowers. Tomatoes are a struggle.

    We don’t do much canning since winter is short and we can grow fresh stuff early and late.

  5. I am envious of your huge garden! We just moved and didn’t have time to dig or build beds before we needed to get plants in the ground so we are keeping it very small this year and only planting what we really love — tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and one experimental corn plant. I’m really hoping we get a nice tomato crop this year as last year was a terrible one for tomatoes in our area.

  6. I requested two new planter boxes for our veggie garden. That way we can have a pumpkin patch. We put one in yesterday so planting should happen soon. We usually plat on mother’s day and I missed doing that this year, but you can’t plant if the beds not ready. Our potatoes are in (we do them in buckets) and sprouted. The strawberries and raspberries have baby fruit on them.

  7. We’ve got our tomatoes and potatoes in the garden. Last year’s tomatoes were a waste here,so we’ll see. It’sstill the sweet optimistic part of the season. It’s not quite warm enough for cukes yet, but some beans and squash plants are off to an iffy start. It just keeps reverting to cool damp weather just when we think the warm days are here.Our asparagus is done for the season ( the tiniest but most loved of our harvests.) We’ve been harvesting strawberries and radishes daily. A gopher is making the rounds and ate the roots off of one plant already. Where is Elmer Fudd when you need him?

  8. In our garden there is the remnants of winter kale that needs to be eaten, the potatoes we missed last year have sprouted (in addition to the ones we planted this year), the peas are growing s-l-o-w-l-y, I’m fighting slugs so the broccoli has a chance, and something keeps digging up my red onions. BUT, my winter garlic is ready to harvest just in time to replace my garlic from last year that is almost gone, and we’ve had rhubarb and asparagus from our own garden. I’d say a pretty typical year. Lots of hard work, but very, very worth it in the end. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it’s dry enough for squash this year (we’re in Oregon). Last year was terrible and we got none.

  9. Last year I really hit my stride. It started off a bed at a time. First the tomatoes. Once I got the bed exactly how I wanted it (compost and mulch covering every speck of bare dirt and supports fashioned from dogwood prunings) I had built up an unstoppable momentum. For the first time ever, I really, really loved it. What a surprise! This year, I’m building upon last year’s progress and taking it even further. I started seedlings! Successfully! So much so that I’m selling off extras at the local farmer’s market. Who would have thought? I’m hoping to have this same level of enthusiasm come canning time.

  10. This is the first year in the 7 years we have lived in our home that I have not even attempted to plant a garden. Every year I try… and try… and try… and nothing comes of it. Our yard is very shady and there just isn’t enough sun to make things happy to grow. So I have thrown in the towel. Instead my older daughter and I planted a flower garden. Lupine, hollyhock, bluebells, sweet peas, asters, various wild flowers… so we can at least have some flowers on the table during the Summer. I work at my town’s Farmer’s Market each Tuesday. I will happily buy veggies from my friends this year 🙂

  11. We have quite a bit crammed in this year. I think my favorite is the gradual ripening of the strawberries and raspberries.

    Nothing is without it’s downsides. Our greatest battle this year has been against a burrow of ravenous bunnies. Nom nom nom.

  12. We’ve tried to be more thoughtful in our garden preparations this year, both to be less wasteful and to keep things from raging wildly out of control. I always have grand plans–each year there are failure and lessons learned. I have planned for a lot of corn, but may rethink after reading your experience! I am learning that being a mama involved accomplishing a lot of things in fits, starts, stops, jolts, and stolen moments–the garden is no exception. But it really does excite me that planting a row of seeds really doesn’t take much time! Slowly, surely we’ll get it done!

  13. Our division of labour is–I plant, I ted, I harvest, I cook and I preserve. Hmmmm… I am not think this really adds up. 🙂

  14. Your post’s title describes me perfectly. But because having a garden is something I believe in, I strive each year towards growing a ‘little more’ and keep my fingers cross. If all else fails there is always a farmers market to visit!Your garden project looks super ambitious and I’m sure your family will be ‘reaping the benefits’ for months and months to come!

  15. patience, lots of patience to put together a garden.I don’t think I would be able to do it, but I certainly love what you are getting!!Love the pictures too!

  16. I love the pictures of the string to line up the rows, especially because I never do anything like that. My rows definitely tend toward the willy-nilly. I am a novice gardner and really just starting to figure out what I’m doing.

    Last year I went crazy starting lots of paste tomatoes from seed, so that I could can them myself. This year, I’m making peace with the fact that we barely get enough sun for tomatoes, and really it just makes sense to buy tomatoes by the case from local farmers for canning. I’ve planted a few tomato plants for eating, but not so much for canning.

    This year I’m putting in extra field peas and okra, which were two of our most successful crops last year.

    And thought not a vegetable, I am NOT trying to plant a sunflower house this year. It’s been a bust two years running, time to cry uncle! (I’m thinking about an okra house instead…)

    The most exciting things in the garden right now are really the perennials–asparagus and strawberries, plus lots of spring greens. Plus peas–I wonder when I will ever figure out how to plant enough peas. It seems we never have enough.

    Happy gardening!

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