Garden ambivalence

I guess I’d been complaining a lot about gardening, as one of my friends asked if I was sure I really wanted to have a garden.

My complaints:

1) Time — there’s other things I enjoy more than gardening, and other things I have to do, and only so much time available. I confess I don’t often use my time well — but even when I do I still have to make choices about what to spend time on, what to postpone, what to neglect.

2) Labor — Except for the time issue, I don’t mind the less laborious tasks like planting, harvesting, watering, and occasional weeding. I had quite the good time this evening planting brussels sprouts, celery, and bell peppers started from seed many weeks ago.

But sometimes gardening requires serious heavy work, and I’m just not that strong.

Parts of my garden are easy to dig, and other parts are heavy and stiff. This permanent mulch system is supposed to reduce digging, but for some things it’s still necessary to make raised beds.

I got a large roll of hog wire (free!) for making bigger, sturdier tomato cages, and a friend loaned me fence cutters. I made only two cages today (I need / want twelve) — took an hour and a half, and I have blisters because even the fence cutters require what for me is a lot of force. I also took the time to file the cut edges somewhat smooth — don’t want to get torn clothes or skin from picking the tomatoes.

3) “Should” angst — Theoretically, I just want to make sure that I work as efficiently and appropriately as possible, which includes getting seeds started or things planted at the right time. When I don’t get things done at what seems to be the right time, I sometimes get angsty about my work going down the drain. Or I realize how little I’m doing, and get angsty about whether there’s any point in growing six celery plants or six broccoli plants, when all we’ll get from them are six celeries and six heads of broccoli.

4) The particular round of complaints that led to my friend’s question involved these things, but mostly was about the fact that first a cold and then that unexpected asthma episode threw me down for two weeks.

Why I garden anyway:

1) It’s the cheapest way to obtain organic produce. We can’t / don’t buy much organic stuff from the store or farmers market because of the expense.

2) It’s seriously local. Store organics might travel as far as regular store produce. And our back yard is closer than even local farms.

3) There’s great satisfaction in eating stuff you grow yourself, and in watching the whole growing process. (And when something doesn’t do well, or when I neglect to harvest something, there’s not really any loss — it still feeds the earth even if it goes straight to the compost pile.)

4) Related to 3), it’s another way to help Amy know where food comes from.


2 thoughts on “Garden ambivalence

  1. Yes! I was feeling that, too. Today I worked about three hours straight — it was humid, but overcast and not so hot, and I even got a nice sprinkle in the middle.

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