The Garden Dilemma
Normally in March I have my life in order, I have a regular routine, and I am at least somewhat organized and prepared. March usually marks the time when I have total focus and excitement when it comes to gardening. March is when I think back on the previous year and note what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what new things to try this year in my garden. This year is a bit different.
Last year I almost didn’t do a garden at all, but my will got the best of me. My husband is in the military and we had orders in FL. Sounds nice right? It was, but it was also very temporary. I didn’t want to invest too much time, money and energy into a garden that would only get used for 6 months. Instead I added a front flower bed to the house we were renting. I only planted the things that make me happy in the moment. It was strictly a selfish garden. I was coming from VA, so FL gardening is a totally different animal. The different zone meant things needed to be planted at different times and different plants were hardy there.
Since then we have moved way up the east coast to MD. We bought a home here and will be here for several years. You can see how my selfish FL garden is not exactly something I can look back on this year. I want to plan flower beds and a garden that will not only be long lasting and beautiful, but cost effective and fruitful as well. Back at my home in VA I had a special area devoted to starting seeds indoors. I left the remaining supplies and my lights there at my rental property because my tenant shared the same interest as me and she utilized the supplies last year to start a wonderful garden, which truly made me happy. I wouldn’t have been able to use them last year anyway so I am glad she was excited to use them.
Now however, I need new supplies to even start! I need some sort of rack, lights and timers. I still need to pick out seeds. Most importantly I need NOT to over-do it. I know very well that the size garden I am used to maintaining will not be feasible for me this year with a new baby. I know that. My husband knows that. I still cannot seem to pass up the opportunity have a garden period. I figure, start small this year. I HAVE to have some home grown tomatoes! There is nothing like a home grown tomato. Even canned, home grown, tomatoes are better than tomatoes from the store.
There are still more challenges to tackle before I can get the show on the road. One thing is we have 3 dogs. No matter where I decide to put in the garden I will need to put up a fence (even if temporary) around the entire garden so the dogs don’t trample all my seedlings. Boy oh boy would that infuriate me! I also have to till up the entire area and test the soil and hope there are no issues with large roots beneath the surface I choose.
Gardening has always been an outlet for me. My mother and I would plant things when I was a little girl. She showed me the ropes, especially with all things flower related. Having new blooms always brightened her day. She showed me how you always have to prune away the old to promote new growth. I guess it’s much like that in life as well. She put me to work helping her plant new flowers and pull weeds, and in the end when everything is all finished we would stand back and take in the sight of the hard work we just completed. It is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to see the things you nurture take root and flourish.
My Granddad was the vegetable gardener. Every year, as far back as I can remember, Granddad always had a huge garden. Some of my fondest memories of being at my grandparent’s house were the in the garden. Granddad showed me how you mark off your rows and make them nice and straight, how you try to only step in your own foot prints after freshly tilling the earth, how to you train beans up a trellis, how to tell when things were ripe and ready to pick, how to squash mustard bugs, but most of all how to appreciate hard work. Sure, he may not have known those moments would stick with me so firmly but they did. What I would give to have learned more from him while he was alive. I hear time and time again how much alike we are when it comes to many things, and every single year when I plant my first vegetables in the ground I think of him and hope he would be looking down smiling.
There is something amazingly therapeutic about gardening for me. It gives you a reason to get outside in the sun and appreciate nature. Working the earth grounds you. It also makes you appreciate so many of the things we take for granted in our daily lives that are so easily accessible now. It also teaches you how all living things are different and require great care. Energy is all around us and it takes energy from many sources to make something successful and I think that is another lesson that reappears in day to day life.
My garden dilemma is going to be a bit of a journey so I figure I will take you on the trip with me and document the process. I think I will even start a new section to my site called Homesteading. My husband and I plan to also get some chickens soon and eventually build an aquaponics greenhouse, maybe even raise bees, so the category seems fitting. I would love to one day be self-sufficient or at least really close to it.
Look forward to my next post that will be about seed starting. I will show you the method I try for this year and try to document the costs involved as well. (I like to do things as inexpensively as possible). Just writing this article has gotten me excited to start!