To do the garden as we wish we could would be a full-time job, split between D and me. There are some things he's good at, other things I am. If we both could spend 6 - 8 hours out there each day in total, during the 6 intensive months of the year, we'd be in good shape with this 2/3 of an acre. (Please don't laugh... I realize that some of you work miracles with much more space.) During the other six months, we both could work on other projects and work less outside (or in the yearly planning for the garden).
We've come a long way since we moved here six years ago. Each year we get better at what we're doing. D and I are trying to figure out how we want to garden and develop the property in the near future.
But every year I have a miserable June with hay fever. I take alternative and allopathic medicine for it, but I pretty much can't go outside and be productive during the entire month of June -- such an important month!
When I finally venture out in July, I hate it out there. It's overgrown, unruly. Some plants have been neglected because no one was giving them extra attention. (LIke, for example, for such an herb enthusiast, I pretty much suck at growing basil because it needs every-other-day attention here in Oregon during June. It wants to be plucked and pruned so that it can grow bushier. Sometimes it needs an extra splash of water.)
In July, I hate the garden, and it takes every ounce of courage I have to go out there and face the madness of growth. (It doesn't help that my mother-in-law chides me about the weeds every time she sees me -- a few times a week.)
I asked some nice people on an organic homesteading mailing list if *they* ever feel overwhelmed and helpless in summer. Many said yes. It helped to hear that!
So I have been trying to figure out how to push through my fear and overwhelm and reconnect with this crazy garden after a month of growth has happened. Usually, once I'm out there working, I can sink into a small task and then move onto the next. The problem is getting out there at all when I feel overwhelmed. Many of those homesteaders suggested I just go out early in the morning, every day, and work for a short while.
When I was talking about this with my mentor/therapist, she thought they had a good idea. So we spent part of the session figuring out how I could re-engineer mornings around here so that I could get out to the garden before D and E woke up, or how to have good breakfasts ready for them to make themselves while I was outside.
This is what I'm trying to do this week. I've gotten three painful wasp bites (think that's what they are) in the process, but I'm going to try to go out there again tomorrow morning -- the fourth day in a row it would be.
Today I strung up the tomatoes a bit higher, picked a load of broccoli, and watered the celery and zukes and my mother-in-law's garden bed that isn't on the automatic system.
Tomorrow morning, I should pick some green beans again. (But I am afraid of the spiders/wasps who are biting me.)
It's like the garden *is* my practice, my space for connecting with spirit and real life. When I'm gone for a month because of the pollen (and I'm well aware of the significance of my "allergies" in terms of my body-mind-spirit... like why does my body panic in the middle of the good stuff?), I don't know how to reconnect with myself out there. My worn hand-tools feel foreign. I feel shy among the plants. My first hour of weeding feels shallow because it *is* shallow since I'm not using my whole body to twist and remove the roots of the weeds.
So I am trying to approach the garden as a meditation practice -- every morning for awhile. We'll see...