Each year we make small improvements across our whole garden system, with the goal being practices that are both effective and attractive.
We started with no ability to grow during the winter. Then we started using row cover. Then we built cold frames. A year or two later we actually started using the cold frames. Then we created hoops and threw plastic over them to create a tunnel. It’s a step-wise process toward our ultimate goal of feeding ourselves as much as possible, as often as possible.
Our current winter protection system is not as quite as effective or attractive as I’d like. For now, though, it’s good enough.
“Good enough” is a hard lesson to learn as a perfectionist, but both tearing our house apart and trying to grow our own food has forced me to reconcile myself with not being able to get everything as perfect as I’d like the first time. I’m learning that if I can get it functional the first time, it’s easier to make improvements in future iterations. I have my whole lifetime ahead of me to get it just the way I want it. For now, just make it work.
I am extremely (excessively?) pragmatic regarding what we grow, and in past years have grown edibles exclusively, gradually moving towards edibles plus flowers that attract pollinators.
This year my goal is to make the whole infrastructure system of our garden more attractive – including flowers and ornamental ground covers – which is a major change in philosophy for me. I want it to be gorgeous and buzzing with bees, butterflies and birds right away. But I have to remind myself that it’s going to take time to get it the way I want it, and even that will require first figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
We’ve lived in our house for only 4 years, and I have to remind myself that I think we really have accomplished a lot in those 4 years. What will our garden look like in 20 years? How much food will we be producing by then? Dreaming about that helps me feel less anxious about doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do NOW NOW NOW!
Small, slow, baby steps.