Every year "things" happen that we never anticipated. Sometimes they are small things, like getting a flat tire on the highway. Sometimes they are big things such as an unexpected illness or loss of a loved one. And sometimes they are good things. From making a new friend to harvesting a bumper crop of tomatoes, there are usually many pleasant surprises to be thankful for...sometimes, we just have to make the time to look for them.
|When Tammy sent me seeds for her favourite zinnia, she surprised me with some Tithonia seeds as well. I was smitten by the towering plants & pollinator attracting blooms and have grown them ever since.|
One thing that really hit home this past year is how fleeting time is – how quickly it goes and how precious little we have of it. Spending a few minutes doing one thing necessarily requires that those same minutes are not spent doing something else. In that vein, I’ve been rethinking how I spend my time and have decided to make a few small changes that will make a big impact. The goal? A more relaxed state of being instead of the seemingly constant frenzy to get everything done.
|I'm always drawn to seating areas from which the garden is enjoyed, such as this mossy bench that I spotted during the Washington DC fling. I'm hoping to add one to the veg area, and just as important, to actually make use of it.|
Of course, the garden, which takes up the majority of my time over the summer, will be impacted. To what extent, I'm still trying to figure out. What I do know is that there will be changes both in terms of the what (what I grow) and the how (how I grow/manage it). I'm also going to reevaluate what I need to grow in the vegetable garden - 'cause we all know that just because you can grow it doesn't mean you SHOULD grow it.
|I want to take time to smell the roses...and not be in a rush when I do it.|
I really enjoy knowing how much I have harvested and comparing the numbers from year to year. This has been especially useful when trying to determine which methods and/or varieties work best in my garden. But there’s a downside – it’s a lot of work. What could be a quick saunter into the garden to pick a few leaves of lettuce becomes a more involved production, especially as each variety is weighed separately and the process often includes an artfully arranged photo op to boot.
Although I’m always up for experimenting and will continue to do so, for many crops I’ve settled on the method of growing that works best for me. In most cases, I also have one or two (or more) favourite varieties that I tend to grow every year by which I can judge any new ones that I throw into the mix. What I've come to realize is that I'm ok with simply "knowing" that I had a good/bad harvest based on my subjective impressions, rather than objective numbers, especially if this means more time to enjoy the garden and what comes out of it.
Chelsea Prize & Summer Dance
Two of my favourite slicing cucumbers by which all others are judged
Next year, for example, I’ll probably still weigh the storage type crops, such as onions, garlic, dried beans, and winter squash because it’s easy to do so. In the case of the garlic and beans, I’m also not 100% satisfied with their yields so weighing is more important as I'm still trying to determine which methods and/or amendments work best for me. The thing is, even in this instance, I'll still be treating weighting as more of an option rather than a requirement. If I'm simply too busy with other things, I've given myself advanced permission to skip it.
|Garlic is one crop where I'm still trying different amendments|
in an effort to improve on size