Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Gardening is like Weight Loss CTD

I've been spending a lot of time in the garden again.   I have to admit that I'm a bit of a fair weather gardener.   When the weather is beautiful, I'm out there weeding, planting, pruning and sowing for hours.   When it's too hot, too cold, too damp, etc., however, I don't venture out into the yard unless I absolutely have to do so.

But, the weather this weekend was perfect gardening weather, and since I had no other plans, the bulk of the weekend was spent rehabilitating the garden.

What do I mean by rehabilitating?

Well, when I first moved into my house 17 years ago the yard was an overgrown mess.   What had once been cleared farm land, had been left to go wild for the previous few decades so there was very little space to plant a garden, and almost no sunlight.   An old chicken coop that sat a top the hill behind my house was not visible from the house.

So we started out just taking out trees.   I bought a chain-saw and took down most of the saplings and small trees myself.   Professionals were brought in to take down the larger trees.   This opened up space and light.

Next, I turned to transforming my rocky New England soil into something that a garden would thrive in.   If the soil was beyond hope I would just dig out big trenches, cart away what I dug out and then fill the trenches in with new topsoil.    If the soil was salvageable, I worked in copious amounts of manure and compost until the soil was rich and dark, dark brown.

Then came the planting.  I visited far-flung nurseries and scoured catalog to find just the right combinations of long-blooming, deer resistant plantings (although we did eventually surround the property with a deer fence.)

Every year I extended the gardens until I reached a point when I considered myself finished.    Then I sat back, and admired my work (often with a nice glass of wine in hand).  

There was up-keep, but the major work was done--or so I thought.

For the last few years, I've been noticing that the garden hasn't been performing as well as I would like.   The plants are a bit too crowded, and when I go to plant new plants, the soil isn't as rich as it should be.

I've come to the realization that the entire garden needs to be rehabilitated.   Everything needs to be dug up, nutrients worked into the soil again, and any crowded plantings divided.  

So, I've begun digging up the garden, section by section, to do rehabilitation.   I may take me a few years to get through everything, but it's just work that needs to get done.

While I was digging up a particularly crowded patch of iris this weekend, I once again thought of how gardening is like weight loss.   It's constant work and you can't just sit back and rest on your laurels (at least not for long). 

If you want a beautiful garden, or maintain weight loss, even when the initial hard-work is over, there's still constant upkeep.

And, after a few years, you may notice that, despite your best efforts, weight slips back on again so you need to do some hard work again.

But, in the end the work is worth it.   And, that's what you have to keep telling yourself.  Yes, it's hard work.  Yes, it would be so much easier to just eat fast food and not cook.  Yes, you'd like to just sit and watch TV instead of exercising.    But, if you cook, and eat mostly vegetables and exercise, you'll not only be thinner, but healthier.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful garden.
    I work at my garden starting about now until about May, then it gets too hot here in Florida. But I agree you have to keep it up and here in Florida, the Summer is a constant battle....much like weight loss!!