I know you are busily approaching Spring 2017 with much excitement and anticipation of a full summer garden. You are dreaming of expanding your homestead even bigger, maximizing sun space and growing plants vertically. You are imagining arms full of zinnias and hydrangea, lustrife and coneflower. As you empty the last of your sun-dried tomatoes in the Italian saute, I know you envision row after row of vines heavy with ripe red fruit, lush stalks of fragrant basil, and bulbous heads of white garlic.
This isn’t like having a baby–forgetting the labor pains long enough to procreate another little one to love.
Creation in the garden never stops multiplying, and that’s the truth.
Remember last summer how you could barely keep up with the snake grass choking out the blueberry bushes and hydrangea. What about the zinnias that kept popping up everywhere because you couldn’t bear to take the life of another living creature?
Oh, and then there’s the okra and corn and beans that all tickled your fancy as you perused the seed catalog, but ended up as the least, lost, and forgotten when the rains didn’t come.
Girl, don’t get me started on the tomatoes. Whoever said you couldn’t grow healthy plants from seed directly sewn in the garden–well, I hold you responsible. Who can possibly eat, dry, and sauce 22 plants of 6 different varieties when they hit their peak?
Not the girl who started a new job last summer.
And by the way, when did your daughter who ate grape tomatoes every day for lunch in middle school decide she no longer ate them off the vine in high school?
Please, please, please–do not consider planting anything in the squash family. Clearly, the squash vine borer and lady beetle larvae have learned that Growing Grace Farm is a veritable feast of delicacies. Face it, you’ll never grow organic squash again.
And remember, between post-cancer menopause and climate change, summer will never be the same–you’ll be dreaming of winter in spite of any vegetable that you have time to harvest.
So let’s do this. . .
Minimize planting space. Simplify how much you need to take care of. That will support sustainability, not just of the environment but of your mental health as well.
Grow what you know. It’s fun to experiment, but really, let’s leave the creative veggies to the organic farmers who do this for a living. Let’s focus on a few items we know will do just fine here on the homestead.
Don’t plant so much. You’re not feeding a family of 10, nor do you have the freezer or cabinet space to put away food for the second coming. Plant enough to enjoy the taste of summer without sacrificing your sanity.
And most importantly, remember you have a life outside of this little farm. You have friends and family, art projects and new recipes, hikes with your daughter and walks with the dogs. Keep it all in perspective. Your garden should be a “want to” not a “have to.”
Ok, that’s all I got. Now, step away from the seed catalog and go enjoy the last snowstorm of the year–goodness knows, you’ll be praying for it a few months from now.