Like so many gardeners, this year has been - so far - a trial, to say the least. Only about 50% of my bean seed germinated this year. Why? I'm not sure. Birds? Squirrels? Weather? Just a bad batch of seed? I'm pretty sure I can rule out human error, as I planted the same way I have every year (and had great germination). I just don't get it.
Usually, this is the time of year that I am excited about the garden. I am usually bouncing off the walls, watching my peas and beans climb towards the sky. I am discovering that past years also involved a fair amount of pride. I had done this. I had grown these plants. I had created this wonderful oasis of food and beauty.
This year, I am thinking that my garden successes of the past had little to do with me, and more to do with sheer dumb luck.
This year, I have to gather up all my courage to go out and see what failed this time. It's heartbreaking to see my little seedlings struggling so mightily with the strange weather we have been having. It's frightening to think how much I count on the produce from the garden, and to know that this year there may not be that much. It is frustrating to learn that I can only do so much to ensure the productivity of my gardens, and I have to trust to the Universe to take care of the rest.
Being one who also firmly believes "God/ess helps those who help themselves", I am thinking that I might have to figure out some season-extending plans to give my plants more time come fall.
Already I have decided to try out "winter sowing" for next year. I know onions have done well this way in the past, and I have talked to a couple "elders" in the community who shared stories of their grandparents sowing peas, potatoes, and carrots in the fall so they would just come up in the spring. So I am researching what seeds could possibly survive a MN winter and come up well in the spring. I am saving milk jugs and pop bottles to use as little cloches over my seeded areas, in hopes that will help things get going next year. I am thinking about cages over my raised boxes, to keep the birds and squirrels out. I am thinking about fencing to keep the bunnies out. I am cursing the Mama Bunny who had a litter in my compost bin, forcing me into the choice of digging for finished compost or possibly killing little fuzzy cuties.
Still, I am a gardener, and that means HOPE. I don't care how grumbly and pessimistic we MN gardeners and farmers sound to the general public, we are the most optimistic folks in the world. Every year, every season, we keep sticking our seeds in the soil. That alone takes gi-normous (yes, that is a word. I say so.)faith that things will be better this time. It takes an endless wellspring of belief in a better tomorrow to garden. Because every year there is heartbreak and disappointment. Yet every year, we pour heart, soul, sweat and tears into something with no guarantees. It's even harder than raising children, because you can't spank, bribe, coax, or discipline seeds or the weather. You just do your part, and hope they do theirs.
So I am off to do my part.
~...and that's all I have to say about that....~