Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why We're Downsizing Our Backyard Garden

Sit right down here on the front porch swing* and let me tell you a story. A long, long time ago when P. was still a nursling and a very young one at that, the mister and I dreamed of eating veggies we'd grow right in our own backyard garden. So we scoped out the ground, which we'd previously largely ignored, hatched a plan, and started digging in between the frequent feeds required by our preemie P. Then we edged and sprouted and weeded and watered and finally enjoyed some of the most expensive veggies we'd ever eaten before or since.

Backyard gardening can give you cheap eats, but there is no denying that there are startup costs involved.

backyard garden

In any case, that first year was pretty sweet. Novelty kept us going, we had a pretty good yield of something like a zillion tomaters, a goodly supply of broccoli, and lettuce so bitter only I would eat it thanks to some weird quirk of our soil. Overall, we were enthusiastic. Look at us! Our first backyard garden! We're so domestic! It helped that I was only working sporadically so had plenty of time to get outside to weed and water. Year two unfolded in much the same way, this time with P. toddling around at my side.

Then, of course, 2010 happened and I went back to work at a real job for the first time in six years a month after P.'s third birthday. While I did figure out that I could come home for lunch and do a chore or two or just eat out on the porch when the weather was nice, I was also feeling incredibly overwhelmed and depressed that summer. We planted a backyard garden, but we didn't spend much time at all weeding and watering and so our backyard garden's yield was pretty pathetic. Cut to year four, last summer's garden, and I was working from home but also coping with a complicated and uncomfortable pregnancy.

Oh, and ants chewed through the roots of about half our plants. Freaking ants...

Now it's 2013, the weather is finally warming up (sort of) and we've been wondering just what we ought to do with our tiny suburban farm. And what we think we ought to do is downsize. The mister and I love the fresh veggie, but gardening takes up a lot of time that we just don't have. I can't fool myself into believing that I can do everything a SAHM can do when my client list is blowing up and I have Bo on my hip at the same time. Right now we're thinking we'll keep the front yard plot and cut the backyard garden in half. This will mean more space to play for the littles and less dirt that needs weeding on the weekends. A little fertilizer, some ant traps, and maybe we can enjoy some stress-free home grown broccoli this year without me losing my mind.

Have you ever had to take a project down a notch to actually enjoy it?

*There is no front porch swing - we don't even have a front porch! I'm such a tease!

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14 comments:

  1. Oh my could I relate to this - gardening is SO time consuming. And there it sits, judging you, reminding you of all you have to do. Smart move to downsize!

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    1. Yes. It's like I'd look out my back window and cringe.

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  2. I wish I had a yard for a garden -it would save me from having to go to the farmer's market a few times a week for fresh produce :)

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    1. We do a farmshare from a farm right here in town and it's amazing!

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  3. Last spring/summer was our first at our new house - and we have four acres, a chicken coop, a fenced-yard. I was pregnant so we didn't rush out and get chickens for the coop and a dog for the fenced in yard but we did a lot of gardening. A lot. And without colossal success. I'm curious to see what this year will bring. My husband is the one with the green thumb. Oh and once we saw..not one, not two, not 3 or 4, but five bears chowing down in our garden. FIVE.

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  4. That garden looks amazing. But I totally understand why you’d need to pare it down. The only edible plant we’ve been able to successfully garden (in ground) has been a rosemary bush – and it’s pretty hard to kill those suckers (it doesn’t hurt that it got a nice shot of dog fertilizer at the base right after planting – eew!). So which plants do you think you’ll keep?

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    1. I think we're going to do a limited run of broc, cherry tomatoes, cukes, carrots, snappy peas, and some kind of melon. Once the last freeze happens, which around here could be mid-May, ugh.

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  5. I downsized the 1st birthday party for my son. I just could bear the stress of planning an event for him when he won't remember it. It was nice just to sing happy birthday and make him a cake.
    p.s. I am in awe of people who grow food.

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    1. I get the feeling we won't be doing it up for the Bo's first since he won't have little baby friends right around the same age like P. did. That was the best part of her party - watching all of the babies born right around the same time cruise around and grind chips into the floor, ha.

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  6. I have a hard enough time with my container gardening, I don't know what I'd do if I had to maintain a plot. I say do only what makes you happy. Have a blessed day!

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  7. Those veggies look great but yes! I totally understand having to take something down a notch to enjoy it. I've done that with blogging from time to time!

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  8. You just put my yard-envy in check.........at least for a little while ;)

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