A New Approach
Let me jump right in - I've been silent here for a while for three reasons. Firstly, there's the usual mid-summer reason - busy, busy, busy in the garden. Secondly, there's the fact that "stay at home" means that I've had exactly 2 days in the past 4 months of alone time - Mother's Day and my birthday. Yup - that's it. And thirdly, our lives, just like everyone else's, have changed over this time and the blog fell by the wayside.
|Area #1 vegetable garden at dusk|
However, there's the flip side of the coin too. Lack of scheduled events/lessons/sports/appointments and virtually all other social commitments means our life is so much more relaxed...and I'm taking full advantage of that. I'm re-evaluating priorities, revamping how I do things and, generally speaking, slowing things down. Way down. From what I've heard from friends and seen in social media, looks like I'm in good company.
|Even though I grew fewer lettuce plants overall this year,|
there was still plenty of variety (Top row: Mignonette Bronze, Tropicana /
Bottom row: Speckled, Merveille de Quatre Saisons, New Red Fire)
We've been lucky in many ways. Firstly, neither our family nor any of our friends have contracted the virus at this point (knock on wood!!). Both of my kids are teenagers and were completely self-sufficient when it came to schoolwork, which was a huge issue for friends that had younger children. And one more thing that's made a big difference - my husband usually takes one kid to work with him, leaving the other at home with me (his assistant is working from home, so he is currently alone in his office, which is accessed from the street...no need to take an elevator). This allows me to spend some uninterrupted one-to-one time with each of them doing something that we both enjoy.
|The Asian Delight choy was amazing - it stood up to our 30C/86F weather like a champ!|
So that's about it, in a nutshell. Now, if you follow me on Instagram, you are well aware that the garden is giving me all sorts of joy this year. In fact, I am enjoying my time in the garden more than I ever have before.
Up until now, I would try to grow the full complement of vegetables plus whip existing ornamental beds into shape (weeding/mulching/edging) as well as keeping up with things like the pathways in the veg areas, fruit trees and berry bushes AND tackle new areas that were overgrown and filled with weeds/invasives. In the last couple of years, I cut back on a few things, but I still wasn't able to keep up. The only help I occasional get involves moving mulch - other than that, I'm pretty much a one woman show in the garden (which suits me just fine - I only wish there were more hours in the day!).
|Even though I'm cutting back on how much I'm growing, I was still able to|
squeeze in a few "new-to-me" veg such as this New Zealand spinach.
Long before Covid 19 was a thing, I had resolved that this year, I was going to concentrate primarily on renovating the garden. And since I am not superwoman (call me thick, but it took me a few years to realize this 🙄), this would only be achievable if I cut back on what I grew. And I did just that. Of the 18 beds, only 8 have vegetables in them. The others are either filled with ornamentals (mainly cutting flowers) or have been covered with black plastic for the season (in an effort to get the weed situation under control - I have a particularly bad issue with hawkweed on the hilltop).
|This bed is actually rotting out & was supposed to get the black plastic treatment|
until I had the time and materials to rebuild it. Instead, I decided to plant it up
with zinnias, calendula and a couple of Bloody Butcher tomatoes
Now I love journaling my gardening journey on this blog but (news flash!) I'm sort of a wordy person (yes, I know you're shocked!). When it's all said and done, each post takes a few hours to complete, which is likely why I've procrastinated for the past few weeks. I would often see or experience this or that in the garden and think "I should write about that" but, when push came to shove, I chose instead to spend those hours with my family, work on the garden or do one of the myriad of other things. And the lack of "rushing" to get it all done felt really good.
|Only 1/3 of a bed sown with carrots this year (using seed tape I made last year!)|
This all leads me to one thing. No, I'm not ending the blog, but rather, I'll be *trying* to do posts in a different way. The ultimate goal is to make this blog part of the joy, not part of the stress. Instead of lengthy all-encompassing posts or those that speak to a variety of different things, I'm going to try to do bite-sized posts with a sprinkling of larger ones every now and then. Starting next time, obviously 😜. Similarly, while I read and truly appreciate every single comment, I'll now be taking an "Instagram" approach to comments. I only wish there was a little heart that I could click to show my love for each and every one 💚
|Harvested just yesterday - Red & White Russian kale|
P.S. This was SUPPOSED to be my first bite-sized post where I showed a few of the glorious ornamentals in the garden (from my big perennial planting adventure last year). The plan was just to start right in....then I got side tracked and decided to write about why my style was changing. And here we are, 4 hours later - the new approach will definitely be a challenge 😊
The approach you and your family have adopted is a sound one in my view. Unfortunately, there are just so many hours in a day. I reduced my blog posts from 4-5/week to 3 a few years ago but even that has felt burdensome at times, especially now that the range of content is almost exclusively limited to my own garden! I'd told myself that, when I reach one million views, I may quit the blog altogether. I thought that would happen toward the end of this year but my volume has increased during the pandemic and so that could happen by the end of August. However, as my volunteer and social activities are on hold, I may continue for awhile, albeit on a more relaxed basis. I'm impressed by the abundance of your garden beds and wish you continued enjoyment in the season.ReplyDelete
This year has certainly been different and I think we're all working in different ways to how we usually do things. I really enjoy writing my blog but things do have to give, I gave up answering every comment at the beginning of the year as it just got out of hand, and many of the responses to each comment are quite 'samey' anyway. Saying that, I do appreciate each and every comment, I've made some lovely friends in Blogland and they've been such a comfort to me at the sad times I've had just lately, which brings me to thank you for the support you've shown me over the past few weeks. It really has helped me at a difficult time.ReplyDelete
Glad you and the family are well and managing joy through this crazy time! I'm right there with you about blog posts. Like you, it takes me time to write the posts and get the right photos to tell the story. It takes me days to put 1 post together. Since I started working outside the home a year ago and still keeping up with the garden, homeschooling the kids, etc. it's hard to find the time to regularly post. Lately, I've been making an effort to write more. I like your idea of shorter posts. Instagram is definitely easier to connect regularly with less time investment. That all said, I think the blogger, social media world is constantly changing and it's hard to keep up. I find that there are fewer comments on the blog and more traffic on social media. Good luck with the new approach!ReplyDelete
Great harvest! I feel you about not having time alone : )ReplyDelete
Must admit I’m not finding the time to read all the blogs that I would like to so maybe will manage bite sized betterReplyDelete
You had me fooled, I was sure you were superwoman! KIdding aside, I know how you feel, I'm much happier with my garden since I've cut back. It's a one woman show here too and one is not enough. I'm so happy to hear that you and your family are safe and healthy and I hope you stay that way. I feel so fortunate to be living is a place where I can get out to my garden or go to the park and take a hike, I can't imagine being cooped up in an apartment through this mess. Now that I have a renewed interest in gardening and blogging I'm looking forward to keeping up with your bite sized posts.ReplyDelete
Glad to hear that your family is coping well with these crazy times. Your changes for this year make a lot of sense. Cutting back on activity in order to reduce stress and enjoy more is definitely a sensible approach.ReplyDelete