Every year I think I am going to have it under control. It is as if I think nothing is going to come up all season to take me from the duties in the gardens, the southern heat will never deter me, the rains will never postpone maintenance, nothing will happen while we are out of town, and the mosquitoes will never send me running from my Eden.
Every year I am wrong.
When people would come to see the gardens the first couple of years, I’d run around and try to make everything look like Ina Garten’s back yard. These days I tell myself it is a service for people to see the mess. It helps them feel better about their own gardens. (The same goes for my beach body and my hatred of dusting. I’m trying to make other people feel better about themselves.) I also like to tell myself that having other things to do with my life is a good thing, that if I had the time to keep things manicured, the food would taste no better and my life would be one dimensional.
That is why Eden is such an appealing idea, I think. It is nice to think that there once was someplace just perfect aesthetically but someone else messed it all up for us and now, we shall fight for ever more.
We can build food forests and we can garden but making it all seem orderly takes blood, sweat and tears or, worse, piles of money, poisons and your health.
The bright side is that our management systems constantly improve and each year things seem less daunting by just enough to keep us going. In gardens our size (a total of ½ acre for veggies) and with our budget, it will be a years before late June doesn’t bring a sense of being buried.
I’m thrilled when there is nothing in direct competition with my food crops, aesthetics be damned.
Tip: the wood chipped areas do great for about a year but if you don’t put more chip on, (say the people who deliver it can’t bring more for several months and you have run out) they become just as super fertile near the surface as they are underneath.
That is life, isn’t it? You put systems in place and you try to keep up and stuff happens.
I’m no longer willing to miss beach time with my littles or a glass of wine with my Mister because I can’t sit down. Ever. That was me. That made me a miserable cow. That had to stop.
My Mister points out that when we bought this land there were no songbirds and the soil was almost completely dead. The current fertility is a great problem to have and we now have birds and beneficial insects everywhere so our path is a solid one.
I LOVE it when people come over, grab some soil and marvel over the the obvious quality.
And I love the food coming from these messy gardens.
I’m off to fight the ivy and mulch the berries and edge the walks and hoe the potatoes and …
If you come over today, I might hand you a hoe.
What about you? Do you have a time of year when things get away from you? Do you ever wish no one would see your garden?
Happy eating, Katy