Friday, November 2, 2012

And you paid what for that?

One of the two things that attracted me to our present location was an area fenced in and protected from deer and other wild things where I could garden to my heart's delight.  (!The other thing was the proximity to water!)

And this is the way we cultivated food; cauliflower  garlic, a puny squash plant all peeking through agricultural fabric that warmed up the soil, kept weeds at bay, and allowed only the selected plant to push through a hole and develop to full size. The investment in such a method was sizable:  fabric, amendments, drip system, and water.  (Yes, our municipal water system is antiquated and it is very expensive to deliver!)

We anticipated years of successful gardening.

And we did have many good years. All that preparation worked well for a long time.

But not everything lasts. And this method didn't last for a number of reasons:

1. Moles and slugs managed to destroy the tender shoots before we figured out what to do.
2. We never added enough amendments to keep the soil healthy and producing. Sandy soil like ours just didn't produce much. Our neighbors had brought in truckloads and amendments yearly to keep their soil going. We thought they were overdoing!
3. We began to have trouble bending, especially the tiresome work of weeding before planting, and throughout the growing season.
4. The fabric worked well the first couple of years; then, weeds popped up everywhere.
5.  Water costs became prohibitive. We had to invest in a pump and a sand-well water that broke after the first season. We are presently on our third pump!

If this were a commercial enterprise, we would have been bankrupt. We treated our expenses as a part-time hobby, and managed to keep our anticipations  reasonably moderate whenever we added up the expenses.

Some people here in the Northwest, with the ocean and so many rivers and streams do not hesitate spending forty thousand dollars and more for a recreational fishing boat. How could they possibly justify that cost when many times they spend days on the water without catching any fish?

I know . We make visceral choices, and they are just right for what ails us. 


  1. Rosaria, value really is in the eye of the beholder. If it was worth it to you over the years, it was money and effort well spent. I could buy at least a couple of pairs of machine-made socks for the price of a ball of sock yarn, not to speak of the hours of work and thousands of stitches that go into each sock, but to me they are worth every stitch and penny.

  2. We all have a different idea of what things are worth.

  3. Sorry to hear about all the misadventures of gardening on the coast. For me, having a place that looks nice and is comfortable is about as much as I could hope to accomplish.

  4. I feel your pain. I put a fortune into my yard and kept having to amend the soil and come up with new ways to deal with the weeds. I figured it was good for the soul to get out there and work. I also got to exercise my problem solving facilities. Don't forget that these things keep the creative side of the brain functioning. All of that is priceless.

    Now, I have to figure out how to garden with deer everywhere!

  5. I can identify with this post! And...I tell myself for everything, there is a season...turn, turn, turn. We also gardened happily for a number of years, and this last year we have experienced the same things...sandy soil that won't hold amendments, moles, gophers, squirrels, pests, and aching backs. I think next year i will support the Farmers' Market...which I do anyway only it will be more so!

  6. I keep telling myself each year that I plan on working on the flowers in my yard, but each year I seem to never get to it ,for the same reason of what you listed that seems to prevent your garden from growing.

    I have seen people build gardens in boxs that are off the ground. That way you are not bending down and you can use the kind of dirt that you need. Did you ever consider trying that?

    1. Yes! This year we had a builder build boxes, fill them with great soil, and voila', I'm back to gardening again with vigor and joy!
      Besides, the boxes are extra tall, allowing me to stand and cultivate all around them. Smart of him to think of that.
      We now have a new impetus to grow and eat our own food; just this morning, taking advantage of a dry spell, I picked snap peas, to eat right off, to cook with, to freeze for later.

      Life can be good all the time, if we accept our limitations and work around them whenever possible.
      Thanks for your visit musicwithinyou!

  7. Thanks, everyone for your lovely comments. I know most of you live to garden already.
    If you crave a garden, do as my friends have: petition your city or your local garden club to set up public spaces for cultivation. Here in the Northwest, every town has one or two public gardens where people meet and garden, share tools and other resources, socialize, and gain joy and nourishment from such activities.

  8. We have raised boxes in our front yard and we are still eating the produce now, in early November.

    When I drive through my town I'm amazed at all those lawns that are just stand-ins for gardens. Just my opinion, of course.

  9. When I lived in Maine we had a community garden where they did all that good stuff for the soil and we planted and harvested to our heart's content. There was even a plot for the homeless which each garden member contributed to.

  10. I have just found you. I linked from your other blog "sixtyfive now what," or something like that---But to the point, and I'll be brief---I am delighted to have found your blog.
    You are a wonderful writer. Thank You for content that is fresh, insightful, & thought provoking. But it is your poetry that will keep me coming back .