This afternoon I actually got a bit of gardening done. Yay! It was quite satisfying to be honest, especially when the weather is Summer worthy. In Pembrokeshire, this doesn’t happen too often in August I can tell you! I particularly like growing my own vegetables as I find it rewarding to watch my own little seedlings grow into some bad-ass plants. To eventually taste and share the rewards after all your hard work has been put into it is truly a joy.
This year I took it a bit easy with my veggie patch. Not only because my greenhouse got knocked down and partly blown away by some horrendous gale-force winds, but more importantly because I’ve learned from my mistakes of last year.
What happened last year
Last year I started to grow my own vegetables in the garden. I was full of energy, really excited (and naive) to get my hands dirty. I ordered and set-up a 6×4 greenhouse and dug out a small veggie patch. Eager and ready to start.
After some visits to the local garden centre to buy some plants and seedlings I eventually ended up with a handful chilli plants, about 12 pepper plants, 12 regular tomato plants, 9 cherry tomato plants, some aubergine plants, 10 strawberry plants, baby cucumbers, 6 potato plants, 3 cabbages, some beetroot, spring onions, lettuce, pumpkin, watermelons, melons, and more than 15 full grown courgette plants. Simply put, an awful lot.
I didn’t start small. No, I was a keen bean.
I actually was actually crazy and proud enough about my achievement that I decided to make a video out of it which you can watch below. I was quite keen, as you can probably tell from the video.
In the beginning, it was still fun. It’s satisfying seeing your produce grow. Eventually the time comes when you cut your first vegetables and you taste sweet victory. In my case, my victory mostly came in the shape of a courgette. Or two, or three. Every day. Green ones, yellow ones, even big spherical ones. I had so many I gave some away. I even gave one as a birthday present (I was still very proud of my achievements apparently). We ate courgettes almost every other day and by the end of the Summer I considered myself to be a master courgette cake baker.
But after I while, the jobs and maintenance became strenuous and I could hardly keep on top of things. Vegetable plants need a lot of water, especially in the Summer and most particularly in a greenhouse! Skip a warm day and your plants in the greenhouse get very thirsty, skip two and you might lose a few. I was asking myself, do I really still enjoy this? It seemed that I was getting slightly overwhelmed and lost my motivation (and appetite for courgettes). I became reluctant and lazy. What I previously enjoyed doing and got really excited about was now being considered as a strenuous and cumbersome errand. How did this happen???
I bit of more than I could chew and consequently failed
Looking back on the experience, I definitely was too much of a keen bean. I didn’t have the experience of taking care of so many vegetable plants so I failed. The challenge was too big for me.
Today, I still enjoyed working in my veggie patch because it’s still manageable and therefore fun. I feel capable of doing it. I’m not overwhelmed like last year anymore. There is no need to go to Tesco every other day to buy new pots to put even more courgette plants in. Phew.
Take on a challenge of your own level and start of small.
I was foolish in the beginning but I’ve learned from that experience. I’m sure you can relate to this in one way or another. It’s very common to bite of more than you can chew and then regret it afterwards. If it’s not in the area of gardening – which is likely – you have surely done it once or twice in another context. I’m sure something comes to mind…
So before you start on your new endeavour ask yourself, am I realistically able to do this? Is this the right level to start with my experience? Realise you don’t start lifting 100 pounds if you haven’t touched weights before. Similarly, you won’t start saying to yourself I’ll start to eat only healthy foods for a whole week. That challenge requires 168 hours of commitment! After reading all this, I hope I got the message across that the last thing you should try is to be like me a try to grow a stupid amount of vegetables if you’ve never grown anything remotely close like that before.
No, start small and don’t be a keen bean. Take on a challenge of your own level and master it in time. It pays off in the end.