Once you establish the habit of always looking for the good in any situation, it makes difficult situations easier to deal with.
Although the good is always there, that doesn’t mean that we prefer this new situation to the previous one.
And we all know that sometimes looking for and especially “working with the good” is a lot easier to say than do, even if we’ve already established that habit.
Such was the case with me back in October.
Bruce Lee Had the Same Problem
I broke my femur in June of last year and was in my kitchen floor for 3 1/2 months while it healed. When I was finally able to move, scooting (in a sitting position) was all I could do. Not fun but at least I was moving.
When I tried to stand I had to deal with the problem of one leg being an inch or so shorter than the other. (I figured Bruce Lee had the same problem and he did very well. So why couldn’t I?)
After many tries with cutting cardboard for a lift in my shoe, I finally came up with what appears to be the correct adjustment. (Even with the lifts, I don’t think I do as well as Bruce Lee did without them. 🙂 )
Not Wanting to Push Through the Difficulties
It was at this point that I wished all my borders would disappear in the blink of an eye. And some days, I still do.
I just couldn’t bear the thoughts of planning a strategy and doing what was necessary to “tend” them back into easy maintenance areas of enjoyment and beauty.
One of the things that has always kept me motivated to do a little each day (no matter how I feel or what the circumstances) is my dislike for the hassle of “big jobs”. Doing a little everyday of the year (except when the ground is frozen) makes gardening easy and enjoyable.
If I Want to Eat, I Have to Garden
Since I depend on my garden for most of my food, working on it was a necessity. But it wasn’t appealing.
Help In Getting Around
It took me until February of this year to build enough muscle in the left leg for adequate stability to work in the garden. But I still need support when walking.
Below is a picture of aids that enable me to work and get around. The rollator stabilizes me when walking to and from garden and borders. And it carries my basket of tools. The crutch helps stabilize me when moving in my immediate work area.
Rollator with basket of garden needs. Crutch.
Dealing With the Worst Part First
Almost a decade ago, an invasive species was allowed to grow on the property that borders ours. Their aggressive root system cobwebs through the soil and will (and has) spread 200 feet or more from the tree. That has changed the almost perfect conditions that existed in my current garden (and my borders) when started 20 years ago.
The saplings (some – 6 feet tall) that came up throughout the garden (and borders) in my 9 month absence was the first thing to confront. And that’s an ongoing priority.
Bringing You Current
I’ve done only minimum work on the borders; mostly taking the invasive trees out and cutting and pulling large weeds (like poke weed and morning glories) that might seed there. Some attention was given to my front borders since they’re right on the road.
The garden was and is first priority.
As of this week, about 60% of my garden is starting to look like my garden. (Small section pictured below.)
Lower end from the north side looking towards the entrance gate of the garden.
Blueberries – left top corner; Peas – lower left; 3 tomato plants – lower right; lettuce, cukes, onions, potatoes – center top and right; the green patch in the middle is the weed nutsedge in the center path that I have not yet removed.
A Positive Out of the Negative
At least half of my garden will get a rest from crops this year since I can’t get to all of it.
With early blight so prevalent in areas that have our hot humid weather, I find it important to use a 3 year rotation for tomatoes (as well as many other crops). Any part of the garden that gets a rest can be counted as one year in a crop rotation schedule.
Four year rotation would be better, but I don’t have that much space. This year will give me an edge in various garden beds.
Three of 14 tomato plants, not counting my cherry tomato that volunteers each year. I planted 4 Cherokee Purple and 11 Big Beef. That’s down from my usual 30 to 40 plants. Peas are in the row next to them and show at the very top right corner of the picture.
Since I couldn’t move from my kitchen floor during harvest time last year, things just fell off the plants and decayed over the winter.
One of the most enjoyable things that came out of that was the abundance of cucumbers that have volunteered in the garden. (I plant the open pollinated variety Marketmore as my main cuke.)
The day I had planned to start cucumber seed, was the same day I found the volunteers coming up. That let me know my timing to plant cukes was perfect.
Since I had so many volunteers I didn’t plant any seed then, but may start a few more towards the end of June for an extended season unless some late plants volunteer in the garden.
Cuke volunteer (left corner) accompanied by a stray potato, magentaspreen, spinach seeding, bib lettuce, and the very tops of onions in the next row.
A Positive Discovery
I’ve always planted potato onions in the fall. That’s what you’ll find recommended by suppliers. In all these years I’ve never seen a recommendation for spring planting.
As you already know, I was not able to get to the garden for fall planting.
Fortunately for me, I have friends and readers who are “in the know”. My friend Toni in Oregon wrote to me saying that most growers in her area spring plant potato onions! I was thrilled and could hardly wait to get mine planted and see how they do.
They are doing BEAUTIFULLY! Much better than any planted in the fall. Can hardly wait to see the end results.
Had I been able to plant last fall, I probably would never have mentioned this to Toni and thus, she would’ve not had reason to tell me what growers in her area do.
Turning the Problem into Part of the Solution
Since I was unable to replenish mulch last fall, my garden beds were drier this spring than I’ve ever seen them. As long-time readers know, I can’t water my garden other than hauling in a watering can for seedlings from time to time. I’m dependent on the “way” I garden to hold water in the soil. Part of that is keeping my soil covered at all times.
The picture below shows the upper quarter of the garden on the entrance side. Since my priority was to work in places I wanted to plant, this area has not had much attention. The straw-colored areas you see are not straw, but piles of various unwanted plants (chickweed, volunteer tomatoes, summer poinsettia, purple basil, some cresses, etc.)
When I was clearing those unwanted plants I couldn’t give priority to the time needed to get straw to the cleared beds. So I covered the beds with the pulled plants.
Upper quarter of garden on entrance side. Short row of peas on left. The green area next to the peas is a path between beds where summer poinsettia and purple basil volunteers have come up. The straw-colored areas are piles of decaying unwanted plants.
In the picture below the brownish piles you see in the left center are the unwanted plants that I used to cover the beds. To the right is the bed and path that was cleared.
By the time I was ready to transplant my peppers to the garden the first week in June, those partially decayed piles had held enough moisture in the soil from recent rainfall that I was able to plant without concern. I just pulled back enough of the pile to reach the soil and then planted the peppers. They loved it and have already doubled in size.
Upper end of the garden. Mound of decayed/decaying weeds that held enough moisture in the bed that I was able to plant a pepper there.
Can’t Use the Wheelbarrow Yet – but Manage with This Little Wagon
I’m not stable enough to use the wheelbarrow, but I can manage with this little wagon although it’s slow going.
I received this wagon as a gift a few months before I fell and broke my leg.
Pictures of June 6th Harvest
Harvest at this time in the season (this year) takes me about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. In prior years it’s been 2 hours, but I planted less this year. (Peas, radishes, blueberries, and then various herbs and greens for the day’s meal. A potato or two for a meal.) Harvest for early maturing onions is just starting.
Below are early potatoes harvested for dinner. I fixed my no-fuss easy potato salad these and fresh dill. Wonderful.
Red Norland Potatoes harvested for my dinner on June 6th.
In the blue bowl (picture below) are various lettuces, russian kale, magentaspreen, parsley, dill, purslane and an onion. All for that day’s meals.
(Purslane is thought of as a weed, but it’s one of the most nutritious greens you can eat. It’s very mild tasting and I enjoy it. So much so that I have a hard time getting it in the house uneaten. It gives you protein, the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, the vitamins a,b,c, and e, and omega 3 fatty acid.)
Peas after shelling made about 2 cups. I didn’t plant as many peas as I wanted because I knew I couldn’t handle them this year. Hopefully, I’ll get at least a gallon to freeze. A lot will depend on the weather during the next few weeks.
Radishes are the French Breakfast variety. Some years they’re better than others. But German Giant is always my favorite. This post will tell you more and give you a delicious way to serve them.
The first blueberry bush to produce has just finished up and other varieties are starting to produce. I’ll be harvesting blueberries into the first of July if all goes well.
I hope you’ll enjoy your garden to the full this year. If you’re dealing with difficulties in some form or when you encounter them in the future, try your best to look for good stuff and enjoy it.
Finding joy everyday in the seemingly small things of life is how we make it through the hard stuff.
All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.