Gardeners’ ADD

Some species tulips are blooming. I love these things.

I am guessing it is fully spring now in most parts of the northern hemisphere. If the snow has not melted where you are, it is at least threatening to: no? Then I am sorry to blather on about spring gardening.

Yesterday I walked around outside without my tools or even anything remotely resembling “gardening apparel or accouterments.” The purpose of this journey was twofold: one, I was tired of (indoor, paid) work and two, I wanted to take a mental note of what lies ahead for me in terms of (outdoor, unpaid) work. I find it is very important to make one of these reconnaissance missions WITHOUT TOOLS OR GLOVES because, had I had either, I would immediately have set myself to work. And work is not the point: the assessment of work is the point.

How do you do it? Do you make lists? Do you zero in on a problem area and just get started? Do you pick one task only (say, raking), and then take that on? Are you, well, are you organized? If you do any of the above, I take my sunhat off to you, and bow deeply.

It is spring and I am a SPAZ. Techncially, I have been gardening all year long (thanks to the greenhouse) but now I somehow forget, completely, what it means to do the simplest of gardening tasks. So I ping back and forth, mentally cannot hold one complete thought in my head, and attack all the chores at once but accomplish very little. And I go through this every. single. year.

Somehow it all evens out and I calm down and things get accomplished. Now: I did bring my gloves outside with me, right? And my trowel?

13 responses to “Gardeners’ ADD

  1. I find if I do my ‘walkabouts’ with something in my hand, particularly a wineglass, I’m much more likely to avoid getting into something…

  2. I’m doing my walkabout today – the first day it’s been dry enough to even walk on the soil. But I’m a hardy soul, so even without gloves I bet it’s going to degenerate into some weed pulling and straightening up.

    I also try to have at least one visit every couple weeks (I have a community garden) where I just sit

    I try to get one major thing done at a time, and give myself permission to not have a lovely garden every second. This weekend’s project: trellises! And an arbor, if I can swing it. And a light sowing of lettuce. Building a compost pile. Raking up last season’s crud. And oh God, I have so much work to do.

  3. there must be something like a spring fever : ) I am OVERwhelemed!!

    new baby chics, ducklings are here
    have a broody hen interrupting my egg business – sitting on the eggs!
    ducks need a house
    sheeps are coming…need a separte enclosure
    need to dig a pond [the lotus are growing in the living room]
    need to make a herb garden for mrs.weekendfarmer: )
    spray the orchard
    take care of the strawberry patch
    plough the vegetable garden
    make the Zen garden under the maple trees
    build a play area for the kids so they can play in the veg garden – so they can be with us while we weed and garden
    make steps to go to the creek
    spread the mulch around the yard that I bought last year : (

    and that is just to start…….. My total respect to the fulltime farmers…it is not an easy job!

  4. I garden like a cartoon character. I solemnly make a detailed list during the days when it’s too early to do any digging, ecc. Then, when it’s finally time- I run outside with all of my well laid plans and carefully constructed lists discarded in my wake. My lists are my gardening busywork to keep my sane during the last few weeks of winter.
    This year my excitement was directed toward the fifty-cent flowering bushes I bought before Christmas. They seem to have made it through the winter. How fun is that.

  5. Glad to see it isn’t just me! If everything I needed to do a job was located in one area, I might just get it finished. Instead, I go up to the tool shed (or brush pile, or hose) to get something and notice some weeding, watering, raking, etc. that needs to be done. I usually end up with a bunch of half finished projects done and a longer list in my head than when I started the day. I’d love to see if someone comes up with a good, organized plan.

    In the meantime, I’m with marcy – I love my end of the day walkabouts with wineglass in hand.

  6. yep. that’s me. total ADD. I started and failed to finish no less than 12 bits of work last night when I got home from work and left the yard a bigger mess than when I started. How is this possible?

  7. AHAHAHAHA! This is so totally me and yard/garden work! I’ve got so much to do I don’t even know where to start. Well, we do have tomatoes and peppers already in. Now on to the ‘new’ garden plot.

    The ‘wineglass in hand” on the walkabout sounds like just the thing I need!

  8. Do you mean to say, that walking around sans gloves, deters you from yanking out stuff or gardening? I wish I had that kind of discipline…..I start quite a lot of my weeding just walking around, on my way to collect the mail etc. Might explain the pitiful state of my hands!

  9. Ditto to Marcy and Nada, though I’ve even been known to yank a few weeds with said wineglass in hand. In the summer my fingers are perpetually stained down in the deep cracks—it’s particularly bad when I’ve been working with my tomatoes.

    I tend to bounce from one thing to another, definitely, but I often hyper-focus while I’m there. Um, to the exclusion of other things like going to the bathroom or eating. So, I’ll knock out things one by one like that, then go sit down for a half hour or make food for the kids or check my email. Then go out and putz around until I get sucked into another something or other.

  10. Okay, your comments are IMMENSELY HELPFUL to me!!

    I take the sunhat off especially to Marcy for the wineglass mention. I believe that needs a special smiley sticker. Maybe it’s a way we help ourselves get over how much work we have to do? A little grape-y self-medication?

    Marcy: Do let me know how your Good King Henry turns out! And I swear you will like scorzonera. It has a very distinctive, but not offensive, taste. I think it isn’t commonly sold because it doesn’t store well.

    Ananse: Hi! Great; I am glad to hear that you too start every gardening session With Grand Plans. Last year I committed the great sin of putting two chairs in the veg garden. Other than using them that first night (and promptly draining the better part of a bottle of wine with the husband) they h ave been nothing but crap catchers, but I swear I had the best intention of keeping them there just so I could sit and allow the weeds to grow. If that’s possible for me, which it probably isn’t. But I am envious because I HAVE to wear gloves as I am a wimp.

    Weekendfarmer: here you are ADDING to your chorelist with sheep! Actually those fluffy creatures require a lot less care than you would think. I crack up though at the “zen garden under the maple trees” because it sounds like you are in a rush to do it 🙂 But yes, Spring Fever it is! Good luck and I hope you get a long three- or four-day weekend coming your way sometime soon.

    Pamela: Sunhat off to you too with the cartoon mention. Ah yes: can you see it? A cartoon of yourself, running around like someone’s chasing you? But you are quite right to mention the point of lists in one’s winter downtime. They are to be set aside as the busywork they are. It took me years of gardening to get rid of the guilt that came with NOT following my lists to the letter. Now, I barely make lists, or plans. Is that experience or is it just embracing my many shortcomings? I confess I don’t want to go there!

    Andrea: Exactly! I find I have to really curb my enthusiasm when I run back and forth to the tool shed. “I am ONLY going for the stirrup hoe,” I tell myself, “and not to clip the dead stuff on the way.” So then I do (get the hoe) and even start back to the original task but poof! my directive is gone and I am doing some other task entirely. So, why did I get that hoe out again?

    Kelly, I am telling you it’s progress. We’ve just progressed to making a bigger mess is all!

    Jules, and here I am hoping I can at least take the tomatoes and peppers out to the greenhouse to harden off. It’ll be a month until they get in the ground yet. SO: by that calculation, I guess I will be making new beds in a month, right?

    Nada, I am telling you, I am a wimp with my hands. (And no, they’re not long-nailed lacquered gorgeous, either: I gave that up when I moved to the country.) So yeah, it’s discipline, and an amazing sense of defeat at the very size of the landholdings around here. I know that’s not something everyone can state much less complain about but dang, most days I think I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew with all these gardens! Ack. Early spring often leaves me with such a sense of defeat at something I haven’t even BEGUN yet!

    Danielle: Okay, that sounds more like me, especially about working so hard you forget to pee. (But eat? I will always take time for that…) I think zeroing in and focusing is really the only way anything gets done around here. The other way I trick myself into accomplishing anything (and I am glad you mention the tomatoes here because though I love them I swear trellising them is my LEAST favorite thing to do EVER) by setting my expectations really low. Like, I will go trellis the tomatoes (all 50 of them) now. And when I am finished I just do not stop so then all of a sudden I have crossed two things on my list that only held one! Ah.


  11. Ah! I’m not alone.

    We have an empty palette on which to create. 2 1/2 acres of grass right now. Just put up a greenhouse and are working on an herb garden…if the sun will ever peep out from behind the clouds. We just had snow again last night….in western Washington…unheard of.

    Lots of realistic inspiration here, thanks!

  12. We put ours in Easter weekend. 4 tomatoes and 6 peppers, after I swore I’d only plant one or two peppers. My freezer is full of last years peppers still. Time for Hot Pepper Jelly! They are growing pretty good by now, we should see fruit the first part of June, I hope. My problem is pulling them out and replanting when they are done. I’ll leave that to my Husband this year. Then we’ll plant more. The new bed is supposed to have green beans, squash and something else. We were too late for sugar peas and cold weather stuff. Next year! We’ve already got the plan!

  13. Jennifer! Welcome! I am glad you’re tromping down this very same path. I swear I write this thing to create converts 😉

    Jules, I moved my tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings to the greenhouse on Sunday. I still worry about putting them in the ground so they’re still in their seed cells. BUT! I am at the point of cleaning out the greenhouse of its winter contents (a happy and piggish endeavor believe me) so maybe this weekend the babies will go into the ground. Not quite your Easter planting! I think pepper jelly is divine, and every year I swear I am going to make some. Good luck with the new beds, too…

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