Despite the lengthy gap between updates here, I’ve actually been keeping quite busy in the garden. But to be perfectly honest, it hasn’t felt as fun recently as it should. I’ve been feeling very behind schedule with how the garden is coming along; more often than not, it seems I have just enough time to come home from work, get the grass cut, and pull a few weeds before collapsing on the couch with a cold one after working in 90+ degree heat all day. But great gardens don’t grow themselves, so the work must go on! I just have to prioritize and set realistic goals, and remind myself that it’s really not the end of the world if a few weeds get missed.
Much like last year, my efforts this spring have been divided between two areas: my ornamental garden next to the deck , consisting mostly of native perennials and a few shrubs (which I’ve been quite pleased with…the coneflowers and bee balm have been buzzing with bees and butterflies!)
But the majority of my time has been focused on the veggie garden. Unfortunately, in spite of all the work I put in amending the soil with compost, and setting up several sprinklers to keep things watered, several crops are not looking well. In particular, the green beans are a pale green, almost yellow color and have seemingly stopped growing.
If anyone has any insight, I’m all ears. I’ve ruled out over/under watering, as I’m pretty careful about that. And even other crops that look healthy are not looking particularly vigorous. The lack of pests and obvious disease leads me to believe that the issue is that the soil is simply “burned out” from the same veggies being grown there for several years now, and nutrients are depleted. This seems likely especially because my soil is very sandy, and therefore already is low in organic matter. So, I’ll need to grow a cover crop like winter rye or crimson clover over the winter or early next spring to “recharge” the soil and rebuild the soil structure.
And speaking of needing to “recharge”, sometimes even the most die-hard gardener needs a little break, at least mentally if not physically. That’s the lesson I’m learning this week. While it’s good to have enthusiasm and keep on top of things, it’s also very easy to take that a bit too far and exhaust yourself trying to do it all and trying to figure out every little problem. If the vegetable garden doesn’t produce as well this year, then I’ll take what it does give me, focus on adding to/maintaining the flower beds, and try something different with the veggies next year. Gardening, in my view, isn’t just about growing plants. It’s also about growing as a person…learning patience and perseverance in the face of challenges.