The best laid plans of mice and men…
So, what I’ve learned so far in my experience with planning and planting my first garden bed is that there is a lot of planning. But, as I have also come to know, there is a lot of improvisation and… killing.
No, I haven’t come to the thinning out of sprouts and plants, and there isn’t anything green to protect from garden pests. What I’m talking about killing is your flawless, “finished” plans; killing your need for instant gratification; and killing your tendency to hold on to the small things that feed negativity. Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Kill Your Perfect Plans
For as beautiful and perfect as my garden plan was, its purpose was to give me a reference point to start from.
Thanks to the growing guide and my garden plan, I knew which seeds needed to be planted in March. And I knew which square foot spacing template I needed for which plant. So, the majority of my mentoring session was me directly seeding my bed, and asking Trish, the Opportunity Gardens Coordinator, clarifying questions.
I knew about “thinning” only recently from my VISTA workdays on the farm, and previously understood the application only in regard to carrots. But this past week, I had experienced thinning out sprouts in the greenhouse flats. But it was only in actually seeding my bed that I learned that you purposefully plant more than one seed with many of the plants. Kind of a survival-of-the-fittest, may-the-best-plant-live kind of mentality. More connections finally clicking!
But, as you can see from my sketch, as we planted my bed, we realized space wasn’t nearly as abundant as we originally planned. As a result, we had to wait on transplanting kale and head lettuce. We also gave the quantity of items some second-thought. But I’m glad. I’m going to have a bushel of radishes without the second row I thought I needed. Who plans for that many radishes? The owner of a rabbit.
2. Kill Your Need for Instant Gratification
We planted my bed just hours before the Tuesday thunderstorms — perfect timing. But, having been exposed to seeing seedlings in the greenhouse, I’ve been impatient with not seeing any green in my bed yet.
I have to remind myself that my bed was planted two days ago, and the evenings are quite cold.
3. Kill the Small Things
Again, I’m not talking about garden pests and thinning. I was rather stressed out by the end of the workday before we went to garden. My neighbor I share part of a house with refusing to move her car from the driveway for a minute to get the truck closer to the garden beds really didn’t help my high anxiety.
However, as soon as I started working on my garden, my thoughts shifted away from my bad day. I was learning a skill that creates and continues life, talking about how spoiled my bunny and I will be during salad season, and anticipating the coming rain to fall and water my seeds. In turn, I was not feeding negativity anymore, but rather, creating and nurturing new life.