Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gardening Is Always About Next Year

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I have had this said to me many times and it has never rang more true than this year, than this gardening season.

Gardening is always about next year.

I never truly understood the saying until recently. Our garden disaster has really set me back and got me thinking about how we should go about this gardening business. It was devastating to say the least. This Summer I was really anticipating a thriving garden that I could pick an abundance of produce from and feed my family with. I was also counting on canning a ridiculous amount of tomatoes and the like. Now, now I'm not so sure I'm going to have a garden this year. The flooding (which actually happened twice now) has washed away quite a bit of soil and the wood chips are still so wet that I'm not sure anything would grow.

Those wood chips are holding in the water a little too well.

I love the wood chip idea and I still think it's a great method, but I've come to realize that it is something that will be amazing in a few years when the chips have had the time to decompose. We just got our wood chips about 4 months ago; not nearly enough time for them to be what they should be.

So, now what do we do?

I think that we should scratch the idea of a Summer garden and use the time to really make the garden what it should be. I think we could have things situated by Fall...so maybe we could have a Fall garden? Maybe?

Last Summer we dug out the irrigation ditch (which is actually the neighbors job) that runs alongside our garden so it wouldn't flood our - ahem - garden, but that didn't quite work as planned. I wasn't really wanting to do our whole garden in planter boxes, but now I'm thinkin' it might not be such a bad idea. If we can't get the flooding under control, then we should probably raise our garden 1-2 feet so if we do get flooded again, it doesn't ruin our WHOLE garden. Seriously, I still can't believe that ALL of the seedlings I doted on are dead. Unbelievable.

My husband LOVES this picture and he thinks this is what we should do with our garden. I would like my beds raised a bit more just to be safe, but I really do like the beauty that this garden boasts. It's just radiant with thriving plants and tells of the gardeners many hours spent caring for the land. I really do hope to have a luscious garden one day and I hope it doesn't take more than a few years to achieve. I'm sure you experienced gardeners are laughing right now because when does a project like this ever become 'finished'? Well, I'd like to at least have something growing in our garden and not just weeds.

I am trying to remain hopeful because instead of this beauty or heck even anything growing, all I got is a pile of sopping wet wood chips and dead seedlings.

Gardening is always about next year, and hope is for the rest of my life.


  1. Maybe you could grow some dandelions in the mean time, I would think they'd be easy enough, and your kids would probably enjoy helping you spread the seed. Then at least you can dry it and have tea for later and some salad greens for now. What kind of weeds do you guys have around there? They might actually be herbs in disguise, like nettle or milk thistle, maybe. It's an idea anyway.

  2. I have shown the exact picture to my husband and told him this is what I want our garden to be one day. There is a similar picture with perfect garden beds with a white fence that I love and will use for inspiration for my garden one day! We're going to be moving in a couple months, and I'm hoping to spend the winter building many garden beds that should be ready for next year. If I have the time, I want to plant a couple of the beds with fall harvesting veggies, such as broccoli. Love planning for my future garden!

  3. I'll look and see if we have any 'useful' weeds, but honestly we are overrun with fox tails!!! Any use for them? :)

  4. Interesting thing about gardening is it helps you see things in God's time frame - "One day is as a thousand years". In other words, when you make amendments / adjustments it's not just for today but for next year or in ten years. Like planting fruit trees, you can see them fully grown and producing as you back fill the hole around their tender little roots. You always look at what you hope to have, do what needs to be done to make it happen and hold firm the faith that it will turn out as well or better than what you plan. With that picture as your inspiration, I am fully convinced that in a few years your garden will be every bit as lovely!

    PS - Adding manure or other nitrogen in the fall will help those wood chips decompose a lot faster.

  5. Thank you for the encouragement and for the advice! Gardening does teach us a lot about God and His timing and I'm thankful that God teaches me in all that I do. Thanks again for taking the time to give me some gardening motivation. :)

  6. I have always had visions of gardens producing food to can and preserve but our last house had terrible soil and no matter what I did to it there wasn't much of an improvement. Finally, five YEARS later we moved to land that has excellent soil and ANYTHING will grow here. You are right about planning for next year being just as important but also patience with yourself and your expectations. Our garden is thriving with weeds as well as vegetables so no one theory is correct. It a matter of prayer, patience and time that makes a garden what it can be. I know I am preaching to the choir but it helps to hear it again when frustrations set in. Also, a word to the wise on the photo you selected, don't forget that those grass walkways, although beautiful, need to be mowed bi-weekly to keep them nice and short or the grass will quickly take over. I did the grass paths in an effort to keep the mud down and now I regret the time it takes to maintain the paths! Next year I am thinking straw or grass clippings for the paths... or maybe just the wood mulch for paths?? Thinking ahead... :)

  7. I came over from Barn Hop, I completely agree that gardening really is just learning about what to do next year. There's always lessons to learn. This year our nemisis, other than not having enough rainfall, has been pill bugs. I had to plant my green beans 3 times and some tomaotes several times to actually get any seedlings to survive. My goal this year was to can enough tomato products for our family for a year. (This means I would probably need about 200 qts of tomato stuff). It's proably not going to happen but an older couple came by yesterday and they have too many tomatoes and were' trying to get rid of some. I was happy to take them off their hands.

    I like that picture, too. That's what I want my garden to look like. In addition to manure you can get coffee grounds from Starbucks to add. Whenever we're in town we stop by and ask for any used coffee grounds.


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