Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Not Panicking . . . Quite Yet

 I have all but five of my twenty-six 4' x 8' raised beds planted.  The field garden and two other flat planting areas are still bare, but tilled up and ready when the weather cooperates.  And when I can get to them.
The only seeds that should already be in and that I'm feeling really anxious about are the shell peas (our favorite vegetable to have in the freezer for the winter months).  They like growing in cool weather and should be one of the first seeds to be put into the soil.  Nope.  Hasn't happened yet.  But Papa Pea helped me mark out the rows and put up the trellises in the field garden for them yesterday so as soon as I can, the pea seeds must go into the ground.
We also put up the trellises for the pickling cucumbers but they will definitely have to wait for warmer weather.  I grow a variety of cukes specifically for making pickles only every other year.  I get enough of a quantity of them to make a two-year supply of our dills and sweet pickles which works out well for me.
The weather has been crazy.  Still down into the 40s at night, but reaching the high 70s and close to 80° with lots of bright sunshine during the day.  How are my seeds supposed to germinate with these fluctuations in temperature?  
Plus, after all of our snow melt earlier this spring, we've not had  but a few drops of rain, and our area is currently under extreme fire danger alert.  Go figure.  If I'm not watering nearly every day with the hose, we're setting up the sprinkler system for the strawberries, blueberries or haskap berries.
I just went out to turn on the sprinkler a few minutes ago (6 a.m.) with a temp reading of 46° and without any sun yet it felt darn cold out there.
The beginning of the gardening season for me usually means everything needs to be planted at once.  But there's no way I can sensibly put in the warm weather crops such as beans, pumpkins, squash, peppers and the like when the soil still gets such a shock of cold every night.
I did give myself a good talking-to yesterday while weeding the old strawberry bed.  (Hey!  That's not fair.  I'm not even done planting everything and I have to work at weeding areas that are sprouting big, healthy, invasive weeds already!)
What did I say to myself?  Believe it or not, I've finally realized I can't do it all.  No question that I love gardening and each year think of new and different things I would do if I could somehow find the time to make it all happen in a perfect way.  You know, the way it would look and grow in my fantasy wished for world.  But for that to happen (sigh), I'd have to have a crew of twelve  full-time gardening helpers and another crew to help handle my other responsibilities each day.
No worries.  I'm through teetering on the edge of panic and have decided to cut back on the plans for all I'd like to create out there using every inch of fertile, could-be-so-productive and possibly even beautifully photo-shoot worthy area I'm so fortunate to have available.  Well.  I can't do everything so why feel bad about what I can't do and be more appreciative of what I do accomplish. 

Besides, there's always next year when I'll find a way to do it all.  (Snicker, snicker.)


Tim B. Inman said...

I feel your pain! I've had 'the talk' with myself many times. The most important part of it is when I say, "Tim, this is your hobby. They have food in the stores, and you don't really HAVE to do this. You do it because you like it and it keeps you in the game. Relax, buddy. Don't spoil the fun." Or something like that. Also, I have come to grips with the fact that I don't have a family to feed anymore. It's just me, and I can only eat just so much! So, I have moved to more flowers, less food. I also am enjoying hydroponic growing and 'rain gutter' techniques: growing in bags and buckets.

This spring, I did a lecture for the ISU Master Gardener's conference about the walled estate gardens in England. They have the picture book gardens we all aspire to. I learned in my research that they not only had unlimited money to work with - they had 'an army of gardeners' working those sites.

Well, it's only me, and I do it for fun. I don't want to quit, and I can still try to outsmart Mother Nature - knowing only too well that she will eventually win he battle. But by golly, she's going to know she's been in a fight!


gz said...

That frustrating time when it switches from too cold and wet for peas..to too hot and dry!
None of my pickling cucumber seeds germinated...just when we realised that after 2 years the pickled gherkins are nice and tasty!!

Goatldi said...

I am right there with you. Enough that I have lived in my new homestead for going on year four so I have the new geographic here is your weather now blues but each of the prior years gardens some insane weather calamity has shown up just to toss in another curve. So between the two I still have no idea of what a "normal" year is. I will not give up I swear ! Never give up never give in.

Leigh said...

Well, if the weather would cooperate, we could do it all! ;)

SmartAlex said...

Now that most of mine is in, I am feeling angst over what sort of season I will have. Will it grow or fail? Last year was probably my best season ever and it burned me out. This year I've got it all set up and now I have to wonder: what will be next? Will it be impossible weather? Insects? Varmints? What will life throw at me this year? And will I be proud or disappointed? The suspense is killing me.

Mama Pea said...

Tim - Because I DO enjoy gardening so much, your advice (to yourself . . . and now me, thank you) of "don't spoil the fun" is a good thing to remember! And, yes, those GOR-geous gardens we all aspire to . . . well, that's what I mean when I say "If I only had a crew!" But then I sure wouldn't get the satisfaction out of it as I do when I've done it all. Well, all that I can anyway!! ;o)

gz - Ugh, sorry about your cucumber seeds! Still no sign of mine popping through, but I still have hope! Can you replant yours now?

Goatldi - I've come to realize that there IS no "normal year" for us gardeners. Especially the past several years when Mother Nature seems to have her panties in a twist and is throwing all kinds of abnormal weather at us!

Leigh - Do you promise??! ;o)

SmartAlex - I've smooshed three cut worms in my garden soil already this year. Gaaahhh, I hate those things! I'm hoping they were just scouts and none of their troops will follow. We had a nest of crows hatch way up in a tree just outside the garden fencing this year and each morning just after dawn I see the juveniles hopping around in the unplanted areas going after . . . what? worms? . . . but know they will take young shoots of plants so I have my bazooka (!) ready if I see them near newly germinated plants. (I don't share well with varmints.) Your gardens are ALWAYS beautiful so there's that even if the crops aren't as fruitful as you want. Aren't we gardeners a funny bunch?

Rosalea said...

Your gardens are really coming along! You are way ahead of me. I've been holding off as we had a good frost just a few days ago that toasted my iris buds, and the field garden is still very wet from all the previous rain. Now we are in brutal high temperatures for a few days. I won't be doing anything else until it moderates. Waiting to see some rain in the forecast, otherwise, like you, I will be planting and watering. Feeling somewhat disheartened as Ma Nature is sure not cooperating! Normal?? Our 7th growing season here, and they have all been different.

tpals said...

Your post reminded me of Victorian walled gardens also. Those old photos where the rows of gardeners line up, just knowing they worked there full time is amazing.

We are running about 20 degrees warmer than you but also lacking rain. I didn't even try peas this year, too hot, too fast.