Measure of garden success?

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/24, 2012 at 01:54 PM

The author's garden on a gray morning as summer begins to wane.

Recently, several fellow gardeners and I discussed something that ended up being very interesting: how do you define a successful garden year?

We came to a conclusion—it’s all subjective. When you garden, you go into it with a variety of goals in mind. These might include fresh-grown herbs and veggies, saving money, or just making the yard look prettier. These are the yardsticks to measure a good garden year.

For me, I am interested in production since I like to can and freeze my garden stuff for use throughout the winter. So, I focus on that more so than aesthetics. Not that my garden looks like a big green slob, but I am not so concerned with perfect rows as I am with making sure I get a lot of beans.

What is also interesting, to me anyway, about gardening is how these goals can transform over the spring/summer. If you are dealing with a lot of bug problems, you may drop your expectations for how many eggplants you get. If it’s a drought year, just keeping the plants alive would mean success.

The key to all this, however, is not setting your expectations of success so high you end up turning gardening into a stress source instead of a way to relax. This is a common mistake of the newbie gardener. You eventually learn there will be failures. There will be things you can’t control. This can range anywhere from the ultimate wildcard, the weather to a sudden appearance of a gang of groundhogs to a family tragedy that takes time away from gardening.

You have to learn to roll with it. And learn from it. This year I’ve learned that I really need to give up growing eggplants, as I can’t keep the flea beetles away. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s not the end of the world. All it means is space to try something new next year.

Right now, I am having a great gardening year. I would call it a success. How about you?

Tags: gardening |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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