Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our Little Garden

Last year we tried a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Our closest one was a bit pricey and split their farm shares into three seasons: 6 weeks spring, 12 weeks summer, and 8 weeks fall.  We bought a half share for spring and then a full share for summer.  While the farm was lovely, the people friendly and the produce organic, I was pretty much disappointed with it every week until the last four in August when the tomatoes started coming.   It seemed like every week I got way too much of things I didn't really care about.  Endless weeks of abundant Swiss Chard, which we don't really like. Lots of Kohlrabi that we tried for the first time and while good, got boring. And a good solid 4 weeks of rhubarb, which we don't care for. One strawberry rhubarb pie a season is enough, after that rhubarb is pretty useless to me.   I very much enjoyed hitting the Farmer's Market on Thursdays with Ian as our little ritual. Picking out fresh veggies for our weekend meals.  We would always get a pint of little orange tomatoes to eat on the way home.  Needles to say this year we opted not to join a CSA.  I like to do the choosing and not just getting what I get. 

Ever since we moved to this house we have debated having a garden. I have a notorious brown...no black, thumb and don't often grow things of the botanical variety well. I can raise animals, but not plants.  I also don't, as a rule, enjoy nature and getting dirty.  I'm pretty reluctant when it comes to physical labor too.  Evan has long gotten used to daggers that shoot from my eye sockets when he asks me to help him in the yard.  Asking me to help cut down trees or rake the yard sounds about as appealing to me as being asked to clean prison toilets. Give me my deck, some sunglasses, and a beach chair is about how immersed in nature I like to be.  (Note: when I say we are going "camping" what I mean is we are taking an RV with beds, a fully appointed kitchen,  and bathroom to a campground with water, electric, sewer and cable hookups.)

We tried one year to plant some vegetables in pots. They did ok, but pots dry out too fast. At least they could get the right amount of sun.  Another time I planted some tomatoes but they didn't get enough sun and I didn't end up with very many edible tomatoes.  Our house faces east/west and we have very little real estate to the south of our house so finding a good garden spot is a challenge.  

This year I started really putting a lot of energy into daydreaming our garden.  But I quickly talked myself right out of it on a number of occasions.  

This place doesn't get enough sun.
This place over here is too far from the house, I won't tend it.
This place is too close to the front and would be an eye sore.

and then...

Then we need a fence. Should we do raised beds? How do I fertilize? What about the bunnies in our yard?  Then the thought of ALL it would take to make a successful garden sounded like more work than I could handle and I was overwhelmed.

Soon enough I had more reasons than not to stick to a farmers market, but something was nagging at me.  Our house needs a garden to make it really feel like home.  Here is where the essence of my problems in life reared its head.  

Good vs. Perfect 

As Kirsten so often reminds me when needed, I was letting the idea of perfect be the enemy of the good.  

So one beautiful sunny day I was feeling particularly energetic and I picked a spot behind our deck that gets a solid 6-7 hours of sun and decided I would just try a small plot with tomatoes and basil.   Ian and I thoroughly enjoyed picking out our plants and doing our project together.
After about 1 hour of sweat equity, we had cleared a small 3.5 x 7 ' rectangle, delineated it with scrap boards from the garage and planted our tomatoes.  We were both so proud.  It was definitely the highlight of our day.

The next few days, every time I caught a glimpse of our little garden plot I smiled. It was perfect with all its imperfections.  I liked it so much I started thinking I wanted more. Ian heartily agreed. "Cucumbers and parsley,"  he requested.  So we made another plot for cucumbers, parsley, cilantro and red bell peppers.   

And now that we have gone this far, I am already considering quickly adding another one or two beds for squash, cut flowers, and to save some room for cool weather greens.

This whole project has been such fun to do with Ian. I really hope it "works" and we get to enjoy our own fresh vegetables in a couple months. 

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