Thursday, May 14, 2009
How Does Your Garden Challenge You
The garden, for many, is therapeutic - stress relieving. For others, its a plethora of challenges. Is that the case for you? Do you walk in the garden and say "look at those weeds -- oh the work." Or do you face the garden and its difficulties with that casual attitude and take it as it comes. I believe we all have unique situations, and your attitude, believe it or not, creates either a challenge, or we'll call it a "learning experience". I'm writing this because some days I look at the garden and say what the heck did I do to myself. And other days, I revel in the excitement of picking dinner, or taking my homegrown, organic vege's/fruit from the freezer in the dead of winter and say ahhhhh, this is SO good. Several folks I know are starting a garden for the first time this year (congrats!). That, in itself, is the challenge. What's my soil like? What should I PUT in the soil for a raised bed? Do I get enough sun? How big should I make it? What do it do first? Kill the grass? Rototill it under? What should I use for mulch? What do we want to plant -- there's so much - it can be overwhelming. But, hang in there - it will all come together in due time. Then there's the what to grow department - what a challenge THAT can be. I read there are over 7,500 (yes, that's THOUSAND) varieties of tomatoes. How the heck do you pick just one or two? Here's a link to help you understand the tomato family. You get the same thing on nearly all plants -- a plethora of varieties to choose from. I like herbs and have grown many over the years -- did you know there are over 30 varieties of thyme? The plant world is fascinating, and yes, quite the challenge. I've had my share of challenges over the years in all of the above and trial and error will overcome many of the challenges and you'll be an old hat in no time. This year I'm discovering new challenges every time I step foot outside - and that's another point I'm trying to make -- the challenge will always change and never stop. As you learn the tricks of the trade, new ones will crop up. For me, today? Rabbits seem to be in abundance. What's up with that? Maybe it's because my rabbit-killing cat died last year. Hopefully MoMo will take his place and start finding the baby rabbit nests like he did. (I'm sorry -- as much as I love animals and try not to eat them, nature has to take its course in killing off rabbits so they don't eat MY food!) Eliminating weeds without round-up is another big one -- the vinegar isn't working as well as I'd like. Digging out plants that serve no purpose, i.e., roses? Yup - they are being replaced with edibles - there's another challenge - converting an antique rose garden into an edible landscape. Gasp...I never thought my beloved antique roses would someday truly be "history." Yes, I'm ditching the not-doing-so-well roses and replacing them with food. Rhubarb is now in the rose garden, along with onions, broccoli, and I think the peppers are going in there also. The challenge of this? Making it look decent so the remaining roses are still attractive and fit-in with the vegetables. Part of me doesn't really care what it looks like - but the other part still has that formal rose garden mentality and it needs to be picture perfect. My food garden challenges this year are growing strawberries, potatoes, celery, and quonia for the first time. The strawberries, I can tell, will not be a problem because they are very, very happy in their new home and are already growing and spreading. The potatoes are quite happy too and up and smiling, but I think the summer challenge for taters is just beginning -- raking dirt around them, when? Why? And the quinoa will be a story all in itself. I've never known anyone (ANYONE!) that grew quinoa, nor celery. Did you?? So tell me your challenges.