As part of my job as an urban farmer and educator, I get to go into many backyards and see what's growing, and sometimes what I see growing is frustration. This may be because of pests or soil imbalances that affect these gardens, and those are things I can help fix. Sometimes, however, the frustration comes from a garden that doesn't quite meet the intentions of the gardener. More often than not, this happens when people don't take the time to sit and ask themselves, in all honesty, some important questions. Why do I really want a garden? What do I want it to look like? How much time do I want to spend on it? Let's step through these questions and maybe I can help you understand your intention, and thereby increase your satisfaction, with your own garden (or inspire you to start one).
1. Why do you really want a garden?
There are lots of reasons people start gardening. Which is yours? You want more fresh, chemical-free food in your diet. You want to save money at the supermarket. You want to teach your children where food comes from. You want more fresh air and exercise in your life, or you received a medical diagnosis that snapped you into action. You want to meet your neighbors, mix up your landscaping in an interesting way that also provides you with sustenance, or grow food to donate. You simply want to find out what all the buzz is about this gardening stuff, or you gardened when you were younger and you miss it. Chances are your intention to garden combines several of these reasons, but which is the driving force? If you can keep that in mind, it will help you make decisions about your garden and may connect you day-to-day with its bigger purpose in your life, hence increasing your satisfaction.
2. What do you want it to look like?
Do you have a picture in your head of what your perfect garden looks like? Do you want neat enclosures with straight rows or are you comfortable with loosely-defined plots and rambling plants? Flip through gardening magazines, view photos online, and visit as many gardens as you can. Your heart will gravitate toward a certain look and feel, and you will most likely start to see a clearer vision of your dream garden in your mind. Your frustration with your garden may be the disconnect between what your garden actually looks like and what you really want. You know this is a problem if every time you look at your garden you see what's wrong with it instead of deriving joy from it. Once you understand what your dream garden truly looks like, you can take specific steps to make it a reality.
3. How much time do you want to spend on it?
A big, robust garden filled with fast-growing vegetables will keep you busy, and if an hour of daily exercise and bowls of fresh food are what you want from your garden, then things are working for you. However, if spending precious time every day not only caring for your garden but processing, cooking, and preserving your abundant harvests is straining your life, then you may want to rethink your garden strategy. Installing irrigation, planting slower-growing plants and perennial flowers and herbs, and other time-saving tricks (such as joining our Backyard Cultivators program and letting us do the work for you) can transform your garden from "problem" to "pleasure."
Let Farmer D Organics help you create your dream garden. We offer garden design, installation, and maintenance services, plus all the quality supplies you need to create a garden that you not only love but that fits your lifestyle.