garden: officially started


We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential
. ~Ellen Goodman

The New Year is upon us and the topic of resolutions is abounding with talk show hosts and co-workers around the water cooler. It seems like a topic you are either hot or cold for. I, for one, have never really given them much thought. I’ve always kind of thought it was a nice idea: starting the year off right, changing things that you saw begging for improvement. But to make a list and commit to starting or discontinuing certain habits as of one certain date? Sounded a bit to dramatic for me.

This year, however, has been different. Whether it’s a result of recently becoming a mom or now realizing that I’m nearing the 30-year old mark, I feel like I’ve finally stuck to the path of self-improvement for more than a couple of hours. For the first time in my life, I’ve looked at the start of this new year as an incredible opportunity to make some strides in a few areas of my life that continue to be a thorn in my side. So rather than making a list of specific things I want to work on and/or change (such as “Walk the dog more” or “Eat less sugar”), I’ve decided to choose a couple key phrases to focus on and adjust areas of my life or personality in which they relate to.

growingThe first of these phrases deals with my consistent habit to jump into everything with both feet and take on way more than I could ever possibly handle. While I love the part of my personality that tends to be ambitious, taking on so much most oftentimes results in frustration and an eventual abandonment of the “project” at hand all-together. Take, for instance, my desire to hone my fruit and vegetable growing skills. Although it’s hard for me to admit, I don’t know much about growing fruits and vegetables. I have always been the one envying my neighbor over the fence as he picks his beautiful red tomatoes and shiny green zucchini. So last year, I was bound and determine to grow some of my own. I purchased a seed starting kit with individual cells and planted over THIRTEEN different kinds of fruits and vegetables in only 48 postage stamp sized cells. I labeled them all and kept a record of the date each were planted and when each one began to sprout. I became increasingly excited as I eagerly watched each cell fill with greenery that longingly reached towards the sunny kitchen window. When the first week of May arrived, I marked out a 4′ x 12′ garden plot and, due to my lack of a sod stripper, proceeded to remove the grass in that area with a shovel. I cultivated it with my garden fork and was all set to plant.

I then realized my problem, or should I say PROBLEMS. First of all, I had WAY too many plants that required WAY too much space. For instance, among the thirteen varieties I had chosen were watermelon, cantaloupe, AND pumpkin seeds. Those plants alone would demand the space of half of my entire backyard! Secondly, being someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about growing produce, I had bit off way more than I could chew (pardon the pun :) ). How was I ever going to keep track of the thinning, spacing, pinching, and harvesting requirements for thirteen different types of plants in a small, not even 50 square foot area? And lastly, I had plants that were already so large they were beginning to take over my kitchen and yet it wasn’t warm enough to plant them outdoors.  I ended up composting over half of my seedlings (I almost literally shed a tear while doing so) and then planted the rest the day before a frost, which brought me down to perhaps a quarter of what I started with. As the weather warmed up, I got busy with other things. And as I got busy, my plants begged for my attention. I think I ended up harvesting a mere one dozen beans and three tomatoes from all of the seeds I planted. Pretty sad.

So finally to the point at hand…One of my declarations for the new year is “Do less and do it better”. I am DEFINITELY going to attempt the fruit and vegetable garden again this year. However, I am limiting myself to a maximum of three different types of plants. What those three will be is yet to be determined. But I think I’ve found a website that will help which I wanted to share with you. It’s called “Let’s Grow Veggies” and within seconds, after simply typing your zip code, it will give you a rough “schedule” for growing over 20 common vegetables. Now THIS is the kind of information I can use! You can check it out for yourself here: www.letsgrowveggies.com

So here’s to a New Year. Whether you make resolutions or not, I challenge you to continually strive to “patch the cracks” of your life…every day is filled with oh-so-much potential!

With hands in the dirt and head in the clouds,

 

 

 

PS Remember the Homegrown Recipe Contest last year? Guess what – I’ll have some exciting news to share regarding that very soon!