I had a plan this spring. I was going to plant the most amazing productive little garden ever full of plants I grew from tiny high quality heritage seeds and then I was going to spend the end of summer and beginning of fall preserving all of the fruits of my labor and be happy happy happy! Well...it hasn't exactly gone as I had planned so far :) Being that our budget is limited, our growing season short, and...well I don't know what I'm doing things haven't come out as I had dreamed. I've learned a few things though. I've learned things like:
1. Start seedlings at the right time. I should have waited until after our vacation but in my enthusiasm, I rushed and all my seedlings are now growing in that great garden in the sky if you know what I mean :)
2. Gardening can be very time consuming or maybe it just seems that way since I'm always rushing when I'm weeding because I "just know" while I'm in the back yard the baby is probably snacking on dog food, playing in the toilet or pulling the cat's tail...I'd bring her outside with me but then she'd just eat dirt, grass, bugs, and possibly dog poop so really no win win there! Which leads to the next lesson...
3. You must weed religiously! (and plant in a manner where you know where the seed will pop up!) Otherwise one day you look at your garden and your growing more grass then plants! I was confused at first because I planted all of my peas/beans/lettuces/carrots and so on from seeds. I couldn't tell the difference between weed sprouts and what I planted...especially with the lettuces. Needless to say, I caught up and weeded what I could after the fact but it took a TON of work...I gave up with the weeding around the beans. They're almost done anyway and honestly when I got to them I had just accidentally weeded a spider! I was over it which leads to number 4.
4. Gardens have lots of bugs! Yes I know they're good for the plants and i'm suppose to let them be...and I did for the most part...but I don't like bugs. I'm going to invest in some garden gloves next year so at least if a touch a bug...it's not skin contact! EEEEK! Ya'll just don't understand how nasty and big this spider was that landed on my hand when I was weeding. The poor thing was just as scared of me as I was of him...BUT that being said, this spider fear of mine is just too deeply engrained in me. I'm trying folks! I am! But I'm a sissy and always will be when it comes to those eight legged nasty things.
5. Peas and beans are a total waste of garden space unless you plant like an acre of them! The girls LOVE going out and picking peas and beans but we've picked enough for maybe one meal worth. So if you think about it....half of my garden space was used up for one veggie side at dinner. Just doesn't seem worth it in the long run. A waste of garden space.
6. My cats!!! URGH! Gardens to cats I guess equals the biggest best litter box ever. Even with chicken wire wrapped around the entire garden they still get in there and mess up everything! Two week ago I decided to plant some more lettuce, spinach, and carrot seeds in the garden. I made nice little mounds and carefully planted all the seeds in a nice row this time and sure enough the next day half of my mounds were all dug up from somebody relieving themselves no doubt all over my seeds! So frustrating. Not sure what to do about this dilemma. Maybe make a separate "garden" for the cats...*sigh*
Gardening is definitely something I can continue to see myself doing but I think next year I'll do a lot of things differently. It's been fun watching the girls get excited over what little bounty we've had. The are so proud of themselves when they come in with a hand full of peas! And I like that they are enthusiastic about eating a veggie for once too!
If your thinking about gardening for the first time please do take note of all of my mistakes! And if your budget can afford...think about mulch. That would really help with the weed problem! I've had a couple of people mention a film called Back To Eden that's free to watch and has great techniques for gardening too that I just haven't gotten around to watching. Will be doing that before my next garden for sure!