Vegetable gardening in the Cincinnati area hasn’t been too fun this spring. My Pinterest-driven visions of a suburban homestead aren’t exactly coming true. So far my veggie garden looks more like a roadside drainage culvert than the Garden of Eatin’. It’s a frustrating endeavor when your intentions are pure and natural but Mother Nature refuses to cooperate. Especially if you are a newbie vegetable gardener.
Here are a couple of lessons my garden has taught me so far:
We want it and we want it now. We are used to having it now. Nature doesn’t work that way, though. The reward takes time in the garden. It’s a funny feeling after you get a vegetable garden planted. You stand back, take a look at all those baby plants and feel pride at a job well done. The next thought however is, “OK, now what?” The answer of course is; you wait. There is watering and weeding that you will have to do but ultimately, staring at the tomato isn’t going to make it grow any faster. You have to learn patience.
You’ve done all your research. You’ve built the bed. You’ve planted, fertilized, and groomed. You even forced your kids to participate in order to ‘build character’. You have done everything right and within your power to do. Then it rains. And gets cold again. And rains again. And keeps raining. And guess what? THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! It’s out of your control. You’re watching all your hard work slowly turn yellow, drown, and rot. “What a waste of time! I’m going to have to start all over! Next year I am going to add some more soil and wait until later to…wait. Next year? I’m already thinking about next year?” There is the best lesson learned…
All gardening, but particularly veggie gardening is the ultimate hope for the future (OK, maybe deciding to have kids is the ultimate hope for the future. But gardening is a close second). It’s never too early to take the experience from this year and start planning for the next. Nor is this year a total wash. Not everything will work this year. But a lot of it will. You might have to pull some crappy plants and add new ones. That’s gardening. Enjoy the successes, learn from the failures. Know and accept that there will be both.