The 2014-2015 school year absolutely flew by! I dealt with some major health issues in April and May as well as planning Nate's graduation and the garden "went to weed." We enjoyed a good year of asparagus, strawberries, and rhubarb (perennial crops), but I missed out on all of the cooler spring crops as well as the long season storage squashes. Daddy was ready to write off the whole season, and I was tempted to as well since both brothers are working full time and can't help in the garden this year. With the amount of veg I'm eating now, though, I really needed to get something into the ground to offset my produce bill.
My Better-Late-Than-Never Plan
I don't want to invest a lot of money or time in the garden this year. Nate is headed to college late summer, and you and Matt have full course loads that will require a lot of my time. I'm only planting what we can eat, dehydrate, or sell -- I won't have time to put up much veg this year.
I'm pre-sprouting the seeds in damp paper towels so I get full beds.
Older seeds lose viability. By sprouting them in paper towels, I know which seeds to plant in order to keep the beds full and easier to weed.
I'm only planting seeds with 60 day season or less.
I might be able to harvest the 100 day squashes, but it's a gamble at this stage of the game. I'll save those for next year and try to pick up a bulk box from a friend or local farmer for storage.
I'm only planting warm weather crops until the end of July.
I don't see any point in trying to keep lettuces and cruciferous veg cool through the hottest summer weather. I'll purchase those vegetables as needed this year from a local farm stand. I may put in fall crops at the end of July to catch the end of the growing season. I do have two varieties of lettuce that grow well in the heat, so hopefully those seeds will produce enough to make my daily salads.
I'm weed-whacking the pathways, spraying with vinegar, and covering them with cardboard as I have time.
Being French, I like a tidy, weed free garden. This year, I'm working on one part of the garden at a time and foregoing all of the hand weeding. Weeds in the walkways aren't going to affect the veg much at all. Our grocery store boxes our groceries instead of using bags, so I have a surfeit of large cardboard boxes to use up.
I'm clearing one bed at a time to plant.
I find it emotionally painful to look at my beautiful garden beds all filled with weeds! It will take more than a week to clear all of them, so I'm doing one at a time and planting it. You can keep up with the daily weeding once I've cleared the bigger weeds. As of today I've cleared and planted the nine racing slick mini-beds and four of the big beds. I hope to have the rest cleared and planted by the end of next week.
I'm not allowing my expectations or Daddy's disappointments to keep me from doing something.
We had plans for a big garden that would provide a substantial amount of veg this year. A business loss meant that we didn't have any money to invest in the garden or canning/freezing supplies we needed to make that dream a reality. Dad is an all-or-nothing kind of person. I'm not. I can let his obvious frustration result in nothing, or I can be a true helpmeet, and just keep plunking away on getting something done. Even if I only provide two months worth of vegetables for our family, that will help. I have a large dehydrator and a big, cool basement; so I can put up some veg even if I can't can or freeze.
Often in life, our big plans and dreams will be thwarted by lack of time, health, or finances. We may have to settle for good enough, and that's ok. We thank God for the time, health, and finances he has given, and make that work to the best of our abilities. Gardens, like most worthwhile things in life, require a small investment of time every day and then a big push once or twice a year. I'm grateful I have the space and the health to plant a few vegetables this year even if I can't have the garden of my dreams. When life hands you challenges, look at them as ladders, not as roadblocks!
Doing the next right thing,