Bed Envy

You might be thinking I am going to talk about the demands of work in the spring garden and the battle between getting enough sleep and getting enough work done. And it’s true, those days exist, but bed envy is not about sleeping, it’s about coveting larger gardens. Recently I visited some friends who are building a timber frame house. They still have another year to go on their house, but the garden is already in and fenced and starting its second year. So, of course, I had to check out their garden too. I looked at the 150 foot garden beds and thought of all the fruits and vegetables I could grow in this kind of space and it made me nostalgic for the five acres we gave up 10 years ago. We talked about the harvest and how storage was a bit tricky – the challenges of living in a wet winter climate where sometimes it can get very cold – relatively speaking – and I left thinking been there and don’t want to go back, but I was still a little jealous.

Left over seed potatoes were planted up in chicken feed bags in which i cut small drainage holes.  Growing great so far.

Left over seed potatoes were planted up in chicken feed bags in which i cut small drainage holes. Growing great so far.

A few days later I drove past a small permaculture farm where the early evening sun still filled the fields, I thought I had to stop and see if the owner – someone I knew – was there and would let me just walk among the beds. I love this farm with its organic shaped, mounded beds, where fruit trees, herbs and vegetables all jostled for space in the deep, rich soil. There are also ducks and a pond, chickens and a cob oven, creative structures and projects galore in an unfinished state. It’s a garden full of chaos & harmony and briefly I wished I had a garden like it. But the paths just rolled one into the other and it became apparent that even with the benefits of permaculture design, a lot of work was required to fill the csa boxes this farm supplied.

I returned home to my small, tidy garden beds where the strawberries and spinach and lettuce already filled their spaces. And the tomatoes and potatoes were growing strong. Every pocket of space was filled with something even if only a head of lettuce. I don’t need to grow 100 pounds of carrots because I can’t store that much. I grow 30 pounds and they keep until December and that’s ok. I want to grow 100 pounds of potatoes but don’t have the space, so I try to grow at least 50 (those six planted up feed bags might add another 10) and, if successful, they will last at least 8 months. And so it goes. Actually, I harvest alot from my modest garden and small allotment at the commons. And what I don’t grow, I can purchase from the many farmers on the island. What I do end up with is time to be creative in my garden and to keep it well planted. And then time to sit on the deck with a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset.

Sunset on Gabriola

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