Monday, August 10, 2009

How did Ma Ingalls do it?

When we planted this year's garden we intended for it to be a learning experience. Sure, we wanted to get some food from it but the real point was to learn by doing. And we have learned a lot from from it. Some things we learned are:

Follow the recommendations on how far apart to plant things otherwise your garden just kind of grows together in one giant mass of plantyness.

There's no such thing as a helper rabbit. There's only bean and carrot eating rabbits.

It is possible for a stalk of corn to grow without producing a single ear of corn. Bastards.

If given half a chance, pumpkins, watermelon and zucchini will happily take over your entire garden.

Gardening is really time consuming.

I'm not even joking about that last one. I vastly underestimated how much work this garden was going to be. It's not the weeding and harvesting that has surprised me, I was expecting that stuff. What I didn't think about was how much time it would take to process all of the vegetables I harvest.

I pick stuff from the garden every day. I usually get a large bowl full of veggies. I sort through what will be eaten in the next day or two and then figure out how to deal with all the rest. Peppers are put into the dehydrator, carrots are cut into sticks for snacks, pickles are made (I have made several batches of pickles this year), tomatoes are made into sauce, beans and peas are blanched and frozen for eating during the winter. On Fridays there's even more to do because I am supplementing what I'm not growing by buying stuff from the farmer's market.

For the most part I really like the garden and the over-abundance of produce. Mostly. Unfortunately I've got a good case of what I like to call the first trimester blues. Come two o'clock every day I am so exhausted that I ache. Morning sickness has started so sometimes when I chop a tomato I think I could vomit from the pure sliminess of if. I'm a little bit of a wreck and the garden seems to be serving to highlight that.

When I'm really feeling worn out though I like to pretend that I'm a frontier woman. I imagine that all that's standing between my family and starvation over the long winter months is all my hard work in the garden. Sometimes when I'm bent over the beans and my back is aching and all I want to do is go inside and lay down and watch Golden Girls I think to myself "No! I must harvest all these beans so that the children don't get scurvy this winter!" Never mind that beans don't prevent scurvy. It's my fantasy and I can grow scurvy beans if I want to. It works for me ok?

In spite of everything I think we're going to expand the garden next year. We'll lay it out better and hopefully with will be even more productive than this years. And hopefully I'll be smart enough to not be pregnant right during harvest time.


ALW said...

OMG I totally pretend to be Ma Ingalls all the time! She gets me through the hard days.

Emily said...

That last part of your entry is like admitting that you pretend you're on a talk show when you're in the shower-- which I may or may not know a couple people who do that...

Anonymous said...

i had a dismal gardening experience this summer

Ben said...

Just so long as you aren't feeding milk to your pumpkins!

Anonymous said...

Thank God my husband is the one who tends to the garden. Because we probably wouldn't have on otherwise!

Donna said...

I decided to grow basil and mint in pots in the kitchen this year - can't screw that up, right? But my husband made ice cream and decided that, instead of pouring the leftover melted ice down the drain, he'd water the plants with it. Well, you have to use tons of rock salt and ice to make ice cream, so he poured salt water in all of my plants. They all died a painful death hours later. The Ingalls family we're not.