2018 is here! The anticipation of spring flowers is on people’s minds and gardening season is beginning. Thoughts of seeds and soil, buds on trees and flowers emerging around our properties. Veteran gardeners are implementing systems that they know work. They know what soil amendments they prefer and when to add them. They have tried varieties of seeds and know what works best. They know where to plant certain plants to take advantage of microclimates on their property that stay warmer or cooler. They know where the sun tracks across their gardens to plan for sun or shade-loving varieties. Since they have been gardening for years, veteran gardeners make it look easy. It can be intimidating for a beginner.
One of my new favorite quotes is “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.” There are many wise people through the ages that have had similar sayings:
“The best is the enemy of the good.”
“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”
“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”
I have talked to some people that would say they want to have their garden be perfect, with their own organic compost made from their own table scraps, have to have a certain cedar wood for their raised beds and a fence tall enough to keep the deer out, etc. And therefore, since they do not have all of this infrastructure the way they want it before they plant their first seed, they do nothing at all! YOU DON’T HAVE A DEER PROBLEM IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GARDEN!
You will never have a garden if you don’t start somewhere. Lower the bar. Start simple. Try some kitchen herbs that you would like to try cooking with around the front steps or in a few small pots on the back deck. Did you know that if you were buying herbs from the grocery store it would be one of the most expensive things you could buy per pound and makes the biggest flavor difference in your meals? Perennials like rhubarb or horseradish are beautiful, easy to grow, the deer don’t like them and take little maintenance.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your garden won’t ever be perfect. There is only one way to become a veteran gardener that makes it look easy and that is to take action and attempt something. Learn from failures and from teachers. Every year tackle one new major garden project. Journal your successes and failures. The perfect garden is the one that improves each year.