Rethinking Your Vegetable Garden

– Posted in: Recommended Links, Vegetables

Barbara Damrosch rightly points out that not only is this a good time of year (for us Northerners, at least) to be thinking about what to plant in the vegetable garden next year, but it’s also a good time to think about that garden on a more FUNdamental level:

If your vegetable garden isn’t fun anymore, this is a good time to ask why it’s not . . . . A garden that becomes a burden is easy to avoid, so that by fall it’s a disaster you can’t face at all. Instead of promising yourself to do better next year, see if you can figure out just what makes that spring-planted Eden slide downhill. Use the tranquil dormant period we’re in now to make a new plan. Not somebody else’s plan. Yours.

The rest of her column is an aid to thoughtful analysis of the garden that was, and recommendations on how to bring it closer to the garden you want. As with many other aspects of life, the first step is to figure out what it is that you really want. I mean, if you grow tomatoes because your Dad always did, but what you actually enjoy most is fresh peas and sweet corn, well, maybe you’ve been wasting your time growing tomatoes. Pretty obvious, yes, but sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of our face until someone points it out to us.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

vegetable garden September 18, 2008, 7:55 pm

Hey Indy gardener,
are you from Indianapolis?

J November 6, 2007, 1:06 pm

sum1 pls any info on growing tomatoes in a cold climate gimmie me a buzz. all ideas welcome

Indygardener January 9, 2007, 10:17 pm

I do need to rethink parts of my vegetable garden, though I am happy with the raised beds. I am not happy with the poor corn harvest!

Kathy Purdy January 9, 2007, 1:06 pm

GirlGG: it must have been wonderful to get thank you notes about your garden. That’s always been a fantasy of mine, that someone would pull over to the side of the road just to tell me how much they enjoy my garden. However, I can’t say my garden has deserved it, yet.

Mary Ann January 8, 2007, 6:07 pm

Hey there! thanks for sending me the family photos. Have no idea how you got everyone in one place at one time. Amazing. Good lookin bunch. that littlest one…..she’s a doll.


Girlgonegardneing January 8, 2007, 12:41 am

My gardens, veggies and otherwise have never followed the normal rules. I cant think in strait lines πŸ˜‰

Usually my gardens are a riot of color and vegies intermingling in odd shaped beds with no strait lines to be seen. As a result, my chaos, has always been loved by neighbors and passerbys. I wish I had pictures of my california garden when I lived out there. I had people stopping on thier lunch break to eat in view of my garden, and to send me thank you notes. Follow your own intuitions and make the garden YOU. If you like bright colors, ignore those who say not to plant them and jsut go for it. What makes you happy will make it yours πŸ™‚ just my 2 cents πŸ™‚

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) January 7, 2007, 9:10 pm

The last couple of years have been hard on my garden and on me. I’d already resolved to make some changes this year–going back to having a big spring splash of annual flowers and not worrying too much about summer. There’s a lot of pressure on us southern gardeners to work, work, work at gardening all year around. I’ve become envious of the dormant season enjoyed by northern gardeners–a time for rest and reflection.

Kathy Purdy January 7, 2007, 8:23 pm

I’m glad you found it helpful, Kim.

Kim (Blackswamp_Girl) January 7, 2007, 8:19 pm

This post really makes me feel better about not growing some things that I feel I “should” since I have a garden. And it makes me think about a few things that I really need to try to work into the garden this year, too–things like peas, which I love to snack on while taking stock of the yard.