Six months ago, I retired. Happy Anniversary to me!
This seemed like a perfect week to reflect on what I’ve learned about gardening since January. I’ve had plenty of help from some experienced Master Gardeners, and have learned a lot in the Miami County Extension Office classes. So much so, in fact, that I’ve decided to take the full EMG classes this fall. I hope my memory is up to going back to school.
As I think about the more personal aspects of learning, aside from the “what, where, and how” topics, I decided on the three P’s: Pain, Persistence, and Patience.
While pain seems unexpected – not to mention a downer – let’s do the math. I’m 65 years old and I’ve been sitting at a desk, either in front of a typewriter or a computer, for the last 40 years. Sure, I’ve done some weekend gardening. But let me tell you, two to five hours a day of physical labor is not what my body is used to.
Ouch! I’ve learned to stay well hydrated with plenty of water and to quit for a while when the temperature gets above 85 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit).
My grandmother used to say that three days after the world’s best housekeeper passes from this life, her house is dirty. Same is true with gardening. Keeping the garden watered and weed-free doesn’t happen once. Persistence is key.
Persistence also means to keep watering and weeding even when it doesn’t look like you’re getting anywhere. Which brings me to the third “P” … patience!
Gardening takes a lot of time, both the doing of it and the waiting for results. At the moment, I’m waiting for my potato plants to finish dying back so I can dig for potatoes. I’m waiting to see if any of the beans I planted actually produce beans. I’m waiting for all those lovely squash and melon blossoms to turn into fruit.
The fourth “P” is the one I left off my personal list and that is POSITIVE ATTITUDE.
If anything, I think gardening this year has made me a tad more pessimistic than positive. Yes, pessimistic starts with “P” but not a desirable quality for the gardener. I’m still more than two-thirds convinced, despite evidence to the contrary, that stuff I plant will die, all things being equal. It may take some time to make an attitude adjustment.
Next week, I’m going to an EMG class on soil amendment. I hope to have lots of interesting information to pass along!