Lesson #1: No one needs 50 tomato plants. Unless you're a farmer, or plan on making a living selling tomatoes, 50 tomato plants is just too many. I had planned on canning lots of different versions of tomato products but that just didn't happen. First of all, it was a bad year for tomatoes, and second, and probably more importantly, I just didn't have time to can much anyway.
Lesson #2: Planning is essential. I had a master plan for my big garden and did a pretty good job of following it, but got enticed by some plants that weren't in the plan. See Lesson #3.
Lesson #3: There is no point in growing eggplant if no one in the family likes it.
Lesson #4: Mulch is also essential. My idea of putting down newspaper an inch beneath the soil kept the weeds at bay...for about 2 weeks.
Lesson #5: Everything takes longer than you plan. And by this I mean that it took twice as long to plant, weed, prune, and harvest than I had scheduled. It also took twice as long, in some instances, for stuff to grow. Seed packets give you the number of days from planting to harvest, but I guess these are just general guidelines. Stuff just grows in its own good time.
Lesson #6: This is probably the most important thing I learned. You have to have time to devote to taking care of your garden. I was willing to overlook the fact that this garden is 20 minutes away, and thought it would be no big deal to run up there a couple of times a week to care for it. But then, lesson #5 was quickly learned, and there were very few days that I had enough time to devote to doing the garden justice. In the mean time, my own yard suffered because I just didn't have time to take care of it properly. Maybe some day, when I'm retired, I'll have a big garden again, but for now I'm going to stick with my tiny little garden and grow stuff in pots on my deck. I guess for now, I'll be a frequent flyer at the farmer's market!
I don't mean to sound like gardening was a negative experience! It was quite relaxing to go up to my garden and see the entire farm growing. People planted some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen, and a lot of people personalized their gardens making it fun to wander around. I also learned a lot by being up there and watching how people plant their stuff. Much of the time, I was the only person there and I enjoyed being outside listening to the birds. You can do a lot of thinking in a garden!
The reason I started this silly blog in the first place was to keep myself accountable for 2 goals I had set for the new year. One was running a 5k, which I still haven't done, and the other was paying off a bill. Well, I paid that bill off last week and was thrilled for about 5 minutes. Then I realized that I still have other bills to pay (well...I didn't just realize that, but reality has a way of being a downer sometimes). And it only took me 6 months longer to do than I had planned. Sigh. But hey, I'm making progress!