Sunday, October 3, 2010

Confessions of a Passive Gardener

Check this out. Do you know what it is? Come on... look really closely.

What do you mean you don't know? Can't you tell that's our squash and melon patch? Where are the squashes and melons, you might ask. I know it's pretty hard to find them among the weeds. This is what happens when life gets ahead of you. For me, a summer car accident, two weeks of house guests, and then a vacation prevented me from caring for this patch the way I should have. Did anyone else have a summer like that? Do you feel guilty for neglecting your garden, not planting a garden in the first place, or not "doing" enough nature activities with your child?

Lest you think I am the perfect Gardener/Naturalist/Mom/Teacher, I thought I should share this very clear visual that illustrates I am not. No-one is, so don't put unreasonable expectations on yourself. Do your best and celebrate your accomplishments.

Did you grow even one bit of produce this summer with your children? Did you cook a new recipe together with something you grew? Did your kids learn about plant life cycles by seeing a plant go from seed to flower to fruit? Did you explore the beach, or a pond, or a forest together? Each of these is a valuable lesson for your kids. Celebrate them. Once you celebrate, you can look for ways to improve.

 Here's the funny thing... despite the abundance of weeds, our melon and squash patch produced an abundance of food. We harvested 33 butternut squash (from 3 plants), 6 delicious cantaloupe (the woodchuck ate at least 3!) and three gigantic watermelons (there are two small ones still growing). The bigger message here is that you don't have to be the perfect gardener to grow some food for your family. You also don't have to be the perfect parent or teacher to raise wonderful kids.  In this "disaster" of a patch that we basically just managed to plant and water, wonderful things grew. The same is true for kids and classrooms and flower beds. Do your best. Love them. Nurture them as best you can. Don't beat yourself up for all the activities you didn't do. Celebrate the ones you did enjoy together and then make a plan to do more in the future.

What accomplishments are you celebrating today? Celebrate them publicly by posting them here.


  1. What wonderful affirmations for us all. Thank you for this reminder that we can all take baby steps towards tending our little piece of earth. Today I'm celebrating bundling up my daughter and taking her out on a misty afternoon to enjoy her first Autumn on the planet. We found the most beautiful maple leaf for her scrapbook.

  2. How wonderful that you're taking your baby out to enjoy the feel of mist on her face. I confess I need a little push to get outside on days like that. I'm sometimes guilty of holing up in the house.