Lessons From My Farm Garden

I hurried out this morning to do my mail box walk with my Corgis but found it was chilly and I needed to get a sweat shirt. Fall has arrived.  When I returned I thought, Oh I need to get the tomatoes from the garden.  Usually I have lots of tomatoes but this year, not so much. When the weather was hot and dry the tomatoes didn't make. Then when it did  rain here and there, they did come on again but very small in size, however,  I can't get a tomato for the turtles eating them. All the ripe tomatoes, and even those partially ripe which I could have brought in and placed in the kitchen window sill to complete the ripening process have golf ball size holes in them. At this point this morning,  I told my Corgis, who love to do whatever I am doing at the time,  "That's it, I am just done with it." Then I remembered not long ago I heard a statement which  I don't even remember where from,  I think on the radio or from a gardening  talk show, that went something like this: When your garden, like farming, doesn't turn out how you thought it would, don't give up, don't give in,  just get back in there and do it again.

That phrase has come to mind a few times since originally hearing it. And I smiled today upon it coming to mind again.   I was reminded of a long time ago when we where the Junior Gardeners and my in-laws the Senior Gardeners and my father-in-law always planted way too much. He just loved planting and growing but he was wise in his methods  I soon learned.  His wife would fuss at him, "Guy, that is way too many plants to have to take care of," she would say and I  thought so too.  Why in the world would he want to set out way too many  tomato plants for just  two families?  Later in the season I learned his  lesson.

It had been a hot, dry growing season. The tomatoes hardly made anything. If  he had only set out a few plants or what he thought we would need, on a normal growing season, this  would have provided plenty of tomatoes and then some, but in a drought he wouldn't have had enough for putting up for the winter.  But because he had set out more than enough, I realized that we had more than enough when the weather conditions were not optimum.  As I recall, there was even enough to give to friends,  or for the turtles if they had found his garden! He I am sure, like most of us, learned  this lesson the hard way and from it he always had enough produce.

So even though my tomatoes didn't do good this year, in previous years they had. The green beans were fantastic this year, but the year before, the bugs ate them up right away. Last year I had plenty of squash and this year I didn't get them set out until late June and   the vines died sooner than later. The last two years, the cucumbers which are so easy to raise, didn't produce many fruits at all.  Our cold frame of mixed lettuce was fantastic, this being a  new  experiment. I really like cold frame gardening.

Right then and there, I thought, don't give up, don't give in and you will win. What a gardening inspiration out of no where. So, I am headed to the barn to get some chicken wire to put around my four tomato plants in hopes to barricade the turtle from the fruit and when that is done, I am going to plant the cold frame with lettuce again and see just how long into the winter I can keep it going. So, if you feel that there is something that you are failing at, be it on the farm, in the garden or substitute another word for these two,  remember this inspiration of  "When your garden, like farming, doesn't turn out how you thought it would, don't give up, don't give in,  just get back in there and do it again." 

And remember, we can learn a lot from our farm gardens that can be applied to our daily lives.

Blessings from the farm,
Farm Girl Sherry


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