Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mood of Success

I've decided that success, at least for me, is much more subjective than I once thought. I'm very much a rule follower, not just in the "do this", "don't do that" sense of things, but also in determining whether things are complete and meet a certain standard. That has always served me well in my academic and professional pursuits. While it hasn't crippled me in my personal life, I must admit that aspect of my personality hasn't always been to my benefit.

This spring, we decided to put in a much larger garden than last year. We had just started with the square foot gardening last year with two 4'x8' beds. This year, we added another 4'x8' bed and 8 1' square boxes for squash and melons. I started this endeavor with not only high hopes, but high expectations. With an entire bed devoted to peas and green beans, I assumed that we would have not only enough peas and green beans to eat fresh, but also a few to freeze. I expected to have squash coming out my ears. But it was not to be. I'll spare you all the details, but late frosts, snacky critters, wind storms and a wet end to the summer left us with much smaller yields than I expected.

Based on the criteria that I had for a succesful season, I'd have to give us a 'D'. Up until this past weekend, I was feeling pretty down about it. Trying to eat more local products is something that has become important to me. Our garden was to play a large part in that role. Also, my husband loves veggies. I had hoped to provide him with plenty of his favorite foods this summer, but without the bounty in the backyard, it was a little harder to do than I had hoped. Another failure. I don't know what it was, but somehow this weekend, I let myself stop feeling as if it had been a failure that didn't live up to expectations. Perhaps it was hearing that others had experienced the same problems that I had. Perhaps it was realizing how much I learned and how much hope there is for next year with improved gardening practices. Or perhaps I'm just getting too lazy to try to live up to my own standards. Whatever the reason, I started looking at what we DID get out of the garden for our efforts with a sense of accomplishment. The tomato sauce in the freezer, the baskets of squash in the dining room and all the produce still to be harvested - they all show me that all was not lost. We could have done a lot worse. So, whether it is a case of my standards slipping or giving myself extra credit for lessons learned, I would no longer give myself a 'D' for my summer gardening...maybe even a 'B'.

In case you're interested, here is our garden's report card (so far, anyway):
  • Broccoli: was a waste of space - something ate the leaves.
  • Green Beans: just enough for 3 meals - we'll cover the seedlings with a starter house next year to protect them.
  • Peas: had 2 weeks of snacking on them - these need to be covered next year, too.
  • Snow Peas: planted too late
  • Chiles: We got 2 peppers. Total loss due to late frosts.
  • Bell Peppers: Lots of late blooms that will never mature. Total loss due to frosts.
  • Thai Basil: I didn't list all the other herbs we had scattered around, but this was our first year with this one. It did great and was a great addition to all our thai meals and curries!
  • Eggplant: Harvesting one this afternoon. There are 3 small (tiny) eggplants on one bush. None on the second.
  • Brussel Sprouts: still going strong. Hope to harvest something soon!
  • Butterstick Squash: Did OK, but was cramped by brussel sprouts. Will be on a trellis next year.
  • Zucchini: OK, but cramped by sprouts. This will be trellissed, to.
  • Delicata Squash: We started out with 2 plants and 8 squash. Ended up with just one. The others were all rotten on the bottom before they were able to ripen. Being in the same bed with the tomatoes kept them too moist on the ground. We'll try these again next year on a trellis.
  • Spaghetti Squash: All I can say is WOW! We had two plants and got 12 good sized squash. Lost a few to rot because I ran out of space on the small trellis so they were on the ground.
  • Butternut Squash: Wow again. Still on the vines, and too hard to count, but I'm expecting about a dozen.
  • Sugar Baby Watermelon: Watching 2 that might be ready soon. Harvested one beauty too early. :(
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon: Late contender when the chipmunks or squirrels kept eating the Sugar Baby seeds. Has a couple of melons close to ready, but I'm not sure they'll make it.
  • Turnip Greens: Great! Not for us, but kept our pet bunny fed for many weeks this summer.
  • Scallions: Terrific. And Matthew's favorite thing to pick for me.
  • Tomatoes: Coming out of our ears at the moment. Anna picks and eats the cherry and grape tomatoes - only about half make it into the basket. None of the heirlooms did well at all due to frosts, but the hybrids that were still available for the third replanting did better than I could have anticipated.

1 comment:

*carrie* said...


Thank you so much for your comment on my blog.

I am so impressed with your garden harvest! Ours was quite pitiful this year, though we only planted 5 or 6 things in comparison. I've never heard of Thai basil before. I bet it's yummy in peanut sauces!