It is the full moon in July.
This is always the point in the summer when I become incredibly overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by weeds crowding everything, the list of things to harvest and preserve, the Fall planting window about to close, spaces we worked so hard to clear the previous year becoming completely overgrown, the crabgrass between patio stones, the overgrown lawn.
Good intentions turn to feelings of defeat and low level anxiety rises steadily, mounts into something unmanageable, just as the weeds creep up and explode! (Gardening is one of my self-care tools)
When isn’t the garden a perfect metaphor for life and the mind?
Oh this letting go thing is so hard for me.
I didn’t plant my seed potatoes this year.
My squash is so behind it may not make it.
The raspberries have no support to contain their wildness.
The tomatoes are a jungle.
There is a wasp nest in the garden that we haven’t dealt with and it prevents me from weeding and mulching the new 25 foot rows of asparagus.
We still don’t have garden gates and the deer are walking right in.
I could go on.
I try to look past the wildness, to just let it be and have faith that it will still be a productive garden, albeit a wild one.
I look for abundance.
Our perennial garden looks gorgeous in its second year.
We will have enough garlic for the year.
The tomato plants are thriving despite zero maintenance.
I managed to succession plants beans, lettuce, beets, and radish.
We are snacking on fresh berries in their second year – raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
We have dozens of volunteer sunflowers, self-seeded dill, cilantro, and calendula this year!
The girls are engaging with plants on such a deep level this year. They are learning to see plants as medicine, nourishment, and a source of joy & energy.
Again, thankfully, I could go on.
Isn’t nature’s abundance incredible?
Many of those weeds are actually food. They are merely living out their purpose – nourishing the soil, preventing erosion, attracting pollinators, and plenty more. And keeping our hubris in check.
Every year I become more interested in perennials, foraging, and medicinal herbs and flowers. I become more interested in eating seasonally year round and doing minimal and low-energy preserving, like drying herbs & mushrooms.
I am so drawn towards the principles of permaculture – in fact, one of my goals in the next five years is to take a permaculture course.
I still love annual vegetables and stocking the pantry and freezer, but it is a lot of work and sometimes makes me feel out of control.
Fighting the weeds, preserving the seasons, tricking nature – it just doesn’t always feel sustainable to me. I don’t always have the energy.
For example, I eat rhubarb in the spring. I don’t freeze it anymore. I look forward to it, I enjoy it, and I move on.
These same feelings inspired my post The Minimalist Garden.
It is so important to remember the why of what we do as gardeners and homesteaders. And keep things in perspective.
This is a very busy season of my life – I am investing is so much now.
I am preparing to launch a business.
I am raising very young and tender children.
I am rediscovering my self.
I am investing in my marriage.
I am engaging with my community and nourishing my friendships.
And, we are five years into establishing our homestead.
Every year, things shift. Not everything can have our attention. Stepping back to rest and nourish ourselves is key to figuring out what is most important in this season.
What needs your attention right now and what can you let go?
We didn’t plant potatoes. So what? We won’t eat as many (this was our intention, anyway) and we will buy the rest from the organic farm 1 km down the road.
If we don’t preserve very much this year, we will simply eat more seasonally, buy some storage root vegetables, and focus on microgreens and fermented foods in winter. We can always make jam for the kids from the fruit I have managed to pick and freeze.
I will get many do-overs with the garden. And what we are doing is enough. (I remind myself with my own words in The Sweetness of Spring) I won’t get a do-over on this season in the life of my family.
And next Spring always gives us a chance to begin again, with new intention.