I grew up with grandparents who gardened. They would can and freeze enough food to last most of the winter. Once I got married and had a couple of kids of my own, I wanted to do the same thing. I’ve always wanted a garden that looks like this:
We tried a handful of times through the years but failed pretty miserably most of the time. Why? We had big dreams but didn’t realize that while we could reach for the stars our feet needed to stay on the ground.
It takes the following to reach big dreams:
Time: the times we started a garden big enough to give us food through the winter, were also some of the busiest times for our kids. We have five kids and everyone has been in sports, on top of school stuff. The reality of being able to put the time in the garden needed AND wanting to attend all of our kids activities simply wasn’t a reality at all.
Energy: it takes a lot of energy for big dreams to happen and well, we’re all human and have a finite amount to go around. Maybe some things had to come off our plates before we could make this dream garden happen.
Effort: we had to ask ourselves if we were willing to put in the effort, the work it takes to make a big garden happen. There are days when it is hot and the weeds seem to be winning the war. Other days there was stuff ready to harvest and can or freeze so I had to change plans to do the work that needed done that day.
Education: were we willing to learn, to read, to attend classes that taught us about soil, seeds, crop rotation, planting, harvesting, how to can, freeze and dry? Were we willing to change what needed changed once we learned more about what we were doing right and wrong?
Experiment: I’ve had some fun with this one. Every year I try to plant something new in the garden. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a bust but you don’t know which is which until you try. I have a garden journal and map that I make notes on what was planted where and what succeeded and failed.
Big dreams start with small things.
Instead of a huge garden that we simply didn’t have the time or energy to put in the effort with, I opted for a few containers on the back patio for a while. I grew some tomatoes and a handful of herbs as well as a few pepper plants.
My dream of having a big garden didn’t die, I simply turned my waiting room into a classroom. I began to learn more about gardening and not just the parts and pieces I remember as a kid. I YouTube all kinds of things and follow several homesteaders who are doing the thing I love/want to do.
This year I canned 54 quarts of green beans, 20 pints of different pickles, pizza sauce and jalapeños. I froze basil and chives. I dehydrated tomatoes, sage, oregano, patchouli, calendula, lavender and chocolate mint for tea. And my experiment this year was luffah sponges! So fun!!
Is it enough to eat on all winter? Nah. But we are ever closer to reaching the stars with our feet on the ground because we learned that we cannot grow corn if our lives depended on it so next year we will buy from a local farmer. We also learned a lot about squash bugs and blossom rot and what to do to prevent both. I’m adding a medicinal garden along the back of the house because I tried some things in pots and it was fabulous.
That dream of mine? It’s doable because I’ve allowed my waiting room to be my class room. What’s your big dream? Keep reaching for the stars with your feet on the ground!!