As I write this, the month of May is almost past. In Minnesota that means we have experienced some of our first warm days of the year; and, for gardeners that means the weeds are growing in full force!
The task of cleaning up flower beds and vegetable gardens in the beginning of the growing season can seem overwhelming. New weeds crop up and seem to become enormous daily. Couple this with the removal of any leaves and dead plants that weren’t tended to in the fall (I am guilty of this), and the work of making things look tidy once again, can be daunting.
For someone like me that uses perfectionism as a shield to acting courageously and putting myself out in the world with all my faults – read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly for more about that concept – I want to have my yard and gardens looking perfect right now!
Well, let me tell you – it ain’t gonna happen.
I know in reality, gardening is continuously evolving. There will always be tasks to do. Fortunately, I love being outdoors and playing in the dirt (if not weeding); but, I do need to temper my thoughts and remind myself it can’t all be done in a day.
It is the Tuesday after the long Memorial Day weekend. For gardeners in Minnesota this past weekend traditionally represents the kick off for the growing season here in the northern Midwest. Sure, when spring gifts us with nice weather as it has this year, we are tempted to begin putting plants in the ground sometime in early to mid-May. However, one never knows when a stray cold front will descend upon us and create a frost that destroys what has been planted. I know this from experience this year as I foolishly planted some lovely coleus earlier this month only to have it die in the cold snap that ensued soon after. I really should have known better, but my eagerness to get things growing got the best of me. Better to wait until all threats of frost are gone.
My gardens consist mainly of flowering plants. I do not have enough sunlight in most parts of my yard to get vegetables to prosper. My cutting garden is the sunniest spot; but, I have just recently learned that my neighbor’s black walnut tree located very near that plot puts out some sort of evil substance that causes tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to not thrive when planted within several feet of the tree. Those are the very veggies I would like to have. Therefore, this year, I am going to attempt growing the tomatoes and peppers in pots instead of in the ground to see if that strategy might work…time will tell. Squash is apparently not affected by the toxic effects of the walnut tree roots so I have planted those seeds in the ground.
I could spend a fortune each spring on bedding plants in order to achieve instant flowers and herbs; but, this year, since I am now on a fixed income as retirees say, I am planting many of my plants from seed which is less costly. That adds an element of suspense as I wait to see if anything grows. Fortunately, I am already seeing tiny plants appear where the seeds were sown. I must admit, it is a very gratifying feeling as I watch them emerge. I must be patient while waiting for blooms that won’t appear for a few weeks.
I am rambling here (again) so I’ll close. My objective in writing this was to remind myself to take my gardening endeavors one day at a time – enjoy watching the fruits of my labor, and know that there will always be tasks to keep me busy. My work will never be done, and some of it will pay off; some of it won’t. That is the intrigue of gardening.
To any fellow gardeners reading this, I wish you an enjoyable summer playing in the dirt.