Gardening - Just A Novelty?

by - January 08, 2010

Another issue of Organic Gardening came in the mail yesterday, and is still in the plastic wrap. I'm not sure how I keep getting these since I didn't pay for them, but I am not complaining. Maybe I signed up for a free trial? My Fall gardening completely bombed due to one main factor: morning sickness. I wasn't in the mood for anything green for about 15 weeks, and it seems to me that Fall gardening is all about green: lettuces, broccoli, more lettuces...

I had a fairly comprehensive plan for this coming season, but with a baby due in the middle of June, I am rethinking quantities and scope. I don't know that I will be up for canning gallons of tomatoes, but I definitely will reprise the pizza sauce as we've really enjoyed cooking pizza from scratch - dough, sauce, sometimes peppers - all but cheesing the cow and making pepperonis.

My waning enthusiasm shows me that I still partially approach gardening as a novelty rather than a way of life. If I feel in the mood, I will garden. So just like the winter cooking bug hits around the holidays, the Spring planting but hits me about February, or on January 8, when my brother mentions he's ready for warm weather so he can start planting. The power of suggestion can do a number on a planting junkie. Part of the problem is that failures in the garden can be crushing when a lot of time and effort was put into the planning and preparations. There is a learning curve that probably takes years, and meanwhile, the effort to produce ratio can be discouragingly high.

I am thinking through an idea that may turn into a long-term community plan. It seems that everyone has their forte with specific crops. Mine last year was tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, and beans. One of my friends did superbly with cucumbers. My neighbor excelled with eggplant, watermelon and collards. Perhaps instead of attempting to dabble in 10 different crops, and doing some of them quite poorly, we could develop a community crop exchange system. I don't know that this will be the Spring to get this going, but it is definitely something I want to work on in the future. Personally, I like to do things well, but when I spread myself too thin and feel unproductive, I begin to treat gardening as a novelty.

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9 comments

  1. That sounds like a wonderful idea! I've thought about something similar as well, but don't know that I'd have the time to organize it myself (though I would definitely take part!). You have to keep in mind what you can handle. I agree that the effort is high, when you may not get much yield back. As long as you enjoy the process though!

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  2. yes. totally into this. a friend and I have been wanting to do this for a few years but have never actually done it. yes. and yes.

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  3. Michelle, what do you grow? Maybe I'll start a little running tab of what folks plan to grow and then get a google group together. I'm thinking as long as people want heirloom tomatoes and pole beans, I may just do tons of them along with some smaller plantings of my personal favs and skip on trying melons, cukes and zukes again.

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  4. YES YES AND YES. We did great with Squash and Cukes last year, but the squirrels ate up our tomatoes! We have done well with Basil in the past but that got poached last year too...

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  5. I've been mysteriously getting that magazine too. I looked in the envelope that came with the latest issue and it said, "We hope you've enjoyed your complimentary subscription courtesy of Stoneyfield Yogurt." I guess that's one of the perks when you purchase YoBaby by the ton? :)
    Anyway, we got sooo many Sungold tomatoes last year it wasn't funny. But g loved them quite a bit so I might have to do some crafty convincing to get her to part with some this year! It seems like every year we've done the garden we get a different bumper crop due to whatever conditions are happening in our little backyard micro-climate. I can't wait to see what this year's garden will do! :)

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  6. I like the idea of gradually building up gardening experience- starting with what you are good at and then adding a crop every year or so. Unfortunately when the seed catalogs came recently, my eyes were bigger than the size of my garden plot and I have about 10 new crops to try!!

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  7. I vote for specialized gardening over community gardening. the only problem with community gardening is that if you leave a portion or day or month of gardening to each person/family, one family's neglect can equal the whole community's loss. there has to be some sort of structure to prevent that from happening. another idea is to each have their own garden, filled with whatever they excel in, then at harvest time, trade equally with one another according to what you need.

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  8. YES YES AND YES. We did great with Squash and Cukes last year, but the squirrels ate up our tomatoes! We have done well with Basil in the past but that got poached last year too...

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  9. I vote for specialized gardening over community gardening. the only problem with community gardening is that if you leave a portion or day or month of gardening to each person/family, one family's neglect can equal the whole community's loss. there has to be some sort of structure to prevent that from happening. another idea is to each have their own garden, filled with whatever they excel in, then at harvest time, trade equally with one another according to what you need.

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