On one’s own baby steps

img_0438-1Snow’s gone:  it’s now fun to find things like these turnips

Yesterday, it got to be 65* here, and I shoveled about 3 cubic yards of woodchips despite the fact that they were still frozen.  I can’t help myself:  the snow has melted and I need to get busy!

The ramp-up to the spring planting season is usually a fairly fraught one.  The gardener experiences what I term Gardener’s A.D.D. and s/he runs around like a fool, having much to do (and seemingly all at once) but accomplishing very little, especially against that long task list and that short gardening calendar.

In my own grand garden schemes I still come up way short of my goal.  It is true.  I do.

But time, as I have mentioned before, is a gardener’s friend.  If I look at the trajectory of my own gardening path of the last 5 years (city gardener on 1/12th an acre==>country gardener with many perennial beds and a small kitchen garden==>year-round subsistence food-growing crazy person who ignores her flowers) I see that I have accomplished much.  Like Rome, them gardens weren’t built in a day.  I had to build them bit by bit, little step by little baby step.

(But I still feel guilty when I see my weedy perennial beds.)

12 responses to “On one’s own baby steps

  1. Even though I am giddy about my vegetable garden plans for this year, flowers are still high on my list. In all honesty, it’s a huge possibility that the table bouquet will be chosen before the vegetable du jour. Some things never change.

  2. Those are truly great accomplishments, and ones to be most proud of. I have a feeling you will look back with a sigh of relief that you have made all these dramatic changes as, unfortunately, many things in the world seem to be changing as well.

    It always makes me smile when I look back on the many changes I have made not only in the way I think but in action as well compared to just few years ago….and what is still ahead.

    I can’t wait to see if I have any turnips, carrots, et cetera still hiding in the garden..I always seem to find few things that were left or forgotten.

    Take a deep breath and keep moving forward,


  3. I feel the same as you at this time of year. So much to do (like getting my seeds started – I’m always behind the curve on that), so much I didn’t get done last year (rain garden, expanding blueberry patches), and then there’s that which I’ve decided not to do (double digging my new, large garden beds – I’ll let the alfalfa cover crop break up the subsoil).

    I’m at an earlier, beginning phase than you, but it’s good to see that over several years the accomplishments begin to add up.

    But you’ve got to admit, it’s all a lot of fun!!

  4. Oh, I fell behind the curve on the very day I made my overly ambitious garden plans and lists. 🙂

  5. I love spring everything-cleaning the house from head-toe, cleaning the yard from top to bottom, painting inside and out! I just love spring and feeling of ‘getting busy’.

    You go girl!


  6. Stand proud!!! Those are accomplishments I am still aspiring to. “Gardener’s ADD” is the *perfect* term for my own efforts these days too – its so exciting to feel those first warm rays of sun and then just start scurrying to get it all ramped up 🙂 I was just reading last night about the growth/maturity time of my planned veg to get a sense of when to transplant, when to thin, etc. and oooof, the timeline can seem very pressing to get moving!

  7. Thanks for this perspective on your gardening path – as usual, reading about your steps however big or small spurs me on in my own food-growing frenzy!

    I feel like I am on a similar path to yours– perhaps a few years behind you on the path, looking for markers on the trail — and I often find them one “Fast Grow the Weeds.”

    A few years ago, I too was an urban gardener squeezing as many plants as possible into my far-less-than-ideal yard, digging out gravel and sparkplugs and turf, piling in the raspberries and tomatoes and bee balm. Then we finally made the jump to a big, sunny, flat country garden. And this spring will be our first season growing in our 40-foot hoophouse, moving toward that year-round subsistence crazy-person state you describe!

    So I LOVE reading about your baby steps. Thanks for taking all of the steps – leaps, baby steps, giant steps forward, and thanks for writing about them. Thanks again for your ever-inspiring blog!

  8. we are not guite at the running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off stage, but I am sure we will be soonq

  9. I love turnips but doesn’t being frozen and then thawing change the flavor or texture at all?

  10. What words of encouragement!

    My baby step this year is soil amending…heavy clay like yours and didn’t produce much last year. I’m trying “lasagna gardening” this year with cover crops in the fall.

  11. Pamela, well, just don’t get a flower-eating indoor cat and maybe things won’t change. I got tired of mopping up spilled vases and leafy cat yack, so, no bouquets for us.

    Mike, yeah, sometimes this kind of progress is only measured in years. It certainly doesn’t seem quick at all when you’re in the midst of it all! I hope more people grow their own food but mainly I hope they do for their health and the fact that it’s terrific, not because they’ve got no other choice…I hope it doesn’t come to that!

    Oh Dennis you know I think it’s a blast! And every year I swear I am going to be less ambitious and simply “make do” with the gardens at hand but every year I manage to add 2-12 new beds. Sigh. I am glad you’re not double-digging. The benefits don’t last long and there’s more damage done to the unseen underground critters by double-digging.

    Hah, Christy, now you see why I don’t write anything down!

    Ah Linda, yes. I like putting the wool stuff away, surely, and those down blankets too. I *love* to reliably hang my laundry outside to dry. But I would rather dig the dirt than clean the house 😉

    Aw thanks Milkweedy. I am so excited for your hoophouse! Really, they are wonderful and I learn so much from them; it’s a much different gardening world. But sparkplugs! I always found broken dishes (!!) and marbles and plastic toys in my gardens. And broken glass. I never understood the broken dishes thing at all. Other than the garbage, though, my Minneapolis dirt was a heavenly dark sandy loam. Sigh.

    Ah Robin soon, yes, soon. But it sure is fun and at least your guy likes to get dirty!

    Shelly, right back at you, sister. You must be moving into mid-late spring now though right 🙂 ?

    John, yeah, but fresh out of the snow they’re fine. Not raw-salad fine but great in a stew. Same with the carrots.

    Jennifer, from what I understand about it, the lasagna method works quite well. (I never had enough stuff for my needs!) I think what really helps with clay is to never ever leave it uncovered. I mulch like a crazy person and I am often asked if that keeps the soil from drying out and I just say “that’s the point” as the stuff soon becomes rock-hard crusted weedy awfulness. So yeah. Especially over the winter, I make sure to have 4-6″ of stuff on top, then during the growing season (except on the seedling beds) I have 2-4″ of dried grass clippings. Seems to be helping but I have years yet before I’ll see real progress. Good luck this growing season!

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