I have a wonderful imagine in my head of the gardener I desire to be.
Yes, it involves a lovely, lush plot of land.
Yes, it involves lots of eggplants.
And yes, it involves a team of mules and a tiller.
I kid, I kid (at least about the mules…).
Every year that I've been gardening, I've learned some lessons – mostly the hard way. This year is no exception. Because I cut corners, acted like a lazy goober-head, and didn't till the soil as I should have, my cucumbers are slowly paying the price. Even though I dug large holes and filled them with healthy soil and compost, it was no match for the poor plot of land they inhabit. They may still rebound – but somethin' tells me that this years pickling cucumber (and butternut squash!) crop will be slim.
Mom? Ahem. Wanna share?
My tomatoes are also…well, I'm not sure what they're doing. We had an exceptionally cold spring this year, and even though it's in the 90's now, they are still so far behind where they should be! “Should be” according to me, obviously. I'm sure God knows exactly what he's doin' with this weather…
The thought of getting a small crop of tomatoes makes me want to cry….weep….mourn. Oh, the plans I have for you tomatoes! Come on, COME ON! I have tomato sauce to can! Tomato soup to freeze! Salsa to make! Sundried tomatoes to cure! I beg you!
Quails also ate every single one of my pea plants. There is not one pea to be had on the homestead this year. Next year, I must pull out the big guns and net the pea patch (similar to what we had to do to the strawberry patch this year!). Gardening lesson #259: quails like peas. ‘Nuff said.
I also started peppers from seed this year for the first time, and they ain't lookin' so hot. I think there are a couple factors playing out in this failure: 1) A cold spring (peppers like it hottttt) and 2) I may have moved them outside to early. Maybe the cold zaps of spring stunted their growth! I've had great success in the years past after buying pepper starts – and unfortunately, I may just need to stick to that plan…Anyone have any great pepper growing tips out there? Luckily, we will survive without a pepper crop this year, but BOO.
Even though there is heartache to be found in all of these lessons learned, they are just that. A lesson learned. Next year, I can remember the mistakes of the past and look forward to another year of growing with new found knowledge!
Or, I may just do like I always so – wing it. And hope it works.
And even though we may fail in some of our homestead adventures, there is always successes too. Lettuce, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage, parsnips, eggplants, onions, herbs, beans, and beets are all doing well! So at least that's something. How blessed we are to live in a period of history where we are not reliant on our own skills for survival – and although it is our personal goal to build a strong foundation of self-sufficiency, the security of knowing there is a grocery store down the road is truly a blessing. Maybe by the time I'm 87, I'll have this gardenin' thing figured out.
Please pray for my tomatoes.
Don't laugh. I'm serious.