“All farmers are gamblers.”
This could have just as easily been the tagline for this blog, but it just wasn’t hopeless enough. To say that a farmer gambles is to say that the weather, or the market, or biblical-type pest infestations puts the farmer’s investment at risk. He knows how to grow vegetables. Much of what he knows won’t mean diddly in the face of severe drought, or monsoon, or the fact that the previous winter was too mild to kill off vast numbers of hungry garden pests. Therein lies the gamble.
My garden is not a gamble. It is an experiment; a classroom. It has been, in the past, an absolute failure. One might say, a complete waste of time and resources. That is, if the only benefit were vegetables.
What I’ve learned about gardening fills pages of a binder reserved just for that information: planning and preparation, recommended and tried and true vegetable varieties, companion plants, organic pest control, composting, storing options and recipes fill the pages. Yep, I’m kind of a nerd that way. And, yet, I know it is only a drop in the bucket of the knowledge, insight, and instinct I hope to possess in the years to come.
What I’ve learned in my garden is mostly about myself. Playing in the dirt, like riding on a bicycle, is as fun now as it was as a child. In the garden, I can accept not knowing everything and not be paralyzed with fear. I allow myself to fail over and over again and I’m totally okay with that.
To outsiders, it does not seem rational. My neighbors shake their head at the crazy garden lady out in the heat. My friends are just glad it’s a healthy occupation and have no hopes of ever being on the receiving end of a bounty of seasonal produce. My family celebrates by beautiful garden, but help me save face by never asking about the harvest.
Some day, I tell myself, some day…
So, maybe, I am a gambler.