Posted in Stories

Two years ago today (sort of)…

…I started to tell the story of our garden here in Gardner, and even posted the image above that showed part of the garden’s past we had inherited when buying this land.

In truth, I’m now writing this quite late–on May 11, 2020.  I abused the magic of backdating to get the date at the top right.  As folks reading this know, our whole world was swept up by March 31st with news about a novel coronavirus spreading.  At the time, Massachusetts was just one place struggling with it in spades.  I was spending more time than I like to admit watching the daily videos our local hospital was putting out, scanning news articles, watching broadcast news, and bookmarking more C-19 stat sites than now seems sane in hindsight.  Can you blame me, though?  My partner is “an essential worker”, a postal carrier.  Heck yeah, we had some scares.  But enough with the excuses!  (I will end this topic by saying if he did get it from work and passed it to me, we still don’t know.)

Since realizing I let the site’s anniversary go by, I first searched to see if I at least had started a draft post then–I hadn’t–and then kept putting off posting because I felt guilty about it.  Shouldn’t I have made a note on my calendar, or set a reminder even here on the site?  Eesh, what a bad blogger I am…anniversary posts are one of those “must dos”, right?  Then it felt silly to write late about it with a post pre date, but then I figured…well, record keeping is one of the main reasons I started blogging.  So…here I am.  Better late then never, I figured.  After having read my first post ever and then the first anniversary post, I’m still not sure what to say.

I will say I am still not the most disciplined when it comes to blogging.  (I mentioned this last year.)  I am getting a bit better about the organized part.  There’s still time, I think, for both to improve, thankfully. Some of the serials I have tried have died. A few new ones have already sprung up this year.  Others may yet be revived and thrived.  Time will tell.

One weird hangup I still have is I sometimes feel like a fraud.  I make what I think are grand and glorious within our reality plans for our garden, and even when we try to scale back to more realistic goals as we gain experience, I feel like my To Do list (which is awesome to behold) isn’t much shorter at all.  That feeling gets worse when something that we managed to do perfectly well in 2018 was a spectacular disaster in 2019 (I’m looking at you, dent corn!)  Confidence is still a factor too.  We held off moving the hollies again because even though one desperately seemed to need shelter as it languished from winter burn, we were terrified we’d kill them somehow, no matter how much info we devoured about hollies and transplants.  *chuckle*  At least I finally got up the nerve to divide various lilies and even did pruning which didn’t kill anything and definitely helped within the first year already.  (Yay!  Still happy about this.)

I know that a lot of folks that write garden blogs are long in season, deep in knowledge, and have entire hands’ worth of green digits.  Mind you, I’m not trying to say I hold myself anywhere near the level those folks are at!  Still, and especially when I realize I posted info that was incorrect (though I do edit such when I realize it, making a note that I’ve edited), I do wonder if I do more harm than good.  Sometimes I think I should put up a big sign on the main page that says “Caution!  Author is not an expert!”

At any rate…I am very happy to report that we spent a lot more time in the garden in 2019 than in 2018.  We also attempted much more with both success and failures.  I’m trying to share both sides when I remember or find time to do some (my draft folder here is bigger than I’d like it to be, though I am whittling it down a bit.)  One thing I don’t like is when I find myself still not knowing what I could have done to avoid X and knowing with certainty what happened so other folks would know as well.  (Like finding out too late about one of the potato plants being attacked underground–I still don’t think I posted the pictures of what I found, and don’t have a guaranteed approach at preventing that again since I’m not 100% sure of the cause.)

Despite knowing my shortcomings, I truly do hope that folks are glad to find my site when they do.  I must be doing something right because my followers gradually go up more than down, and I have had some really nice exchanges in comments as well.  (I love comments, by the way…hint-hint.  I both learn a lot and know for certain when I’ve helped someone else too.)

I definitely think we’re getting better at learning our own limits about what we have both time and budget for (come on lump sum check from the Union renegotiation!  I just hope you don’t get waylaid a third time by the Post Office.)  I really want to buy more than a handful of bulbs this year, and we put off getting fruit trees yet again last year.

As far as goals…I think we accomplished maybe 40% of what we set out to do, individual project wise.  That’s definitely an improvement on 2018.  Our harvest overall was definitely better in the kitchen garden though not nearly as much as we’d hoped, and so far it seems some of my overwintering attempts for frailer plants as well as a few transplant attempts are decidedly more staying alive than perishing.  I did manage to donate at least something (two types of rosemary) to our local food pantry, but again, not nearly what I’d hoped.  If anything, I try to focus on “how can we build on our successes and learn from failures”.  Still, some failures do make one question one’s sanity and/or ability at times.

One thing I absolutely learned last year that nothing on the planet will prevent me from fixing this year?  Do not plant tall bits that might droop in the narrow strip between the driveway and the neighbor’s fence.  They just get battered by the cars coming in and out of the driveway.  (Poor inherited day lilies I started transplanting last year!  You’re getting moved as soon as the ground isn’t frozen mud–I promise.)  Another is weather matters.  Holy cow did I learn that in spades last year about quite a few things, and even this year already too where the last frost projection really is starting to sink in as likely reality and not some safe bet to predict.  (A reason we’re now scheming how to try to build a small greenhouse if we can’t manage a half dozen solid cold frames until we can afford to add the walipini.  So even if next year the frost and snow camp out through mid-May, we can still get started in earnest earlier for when it’s safe to go to ground.)

In truth, I truly regret nothing.  Have I had fleeting regrets?  Sure.  Yet the lessons learned from mistakes and even misfortunes have been–and likely will continue to be–invaluable.  Also, this year I’ve found way more connections for gardening on the web.  That’s like compost gold to me.

Hopefully next year there won’t be any world shaking events going on end of March.  Time will tell indeed.  I hope everyone reading this is as well as can be and also looking forward to a new gardening season!  (If you’re not already in the throes of it, you lucky higher zone folks.)


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