A gardening friend emailed me today and asked me – “Do you feel burned out on gardening this time of year?”
I had to give it some thought.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid real burnout because I have too much at stake to let that happen — and it can happen if you’re not paying attention.
Real burnout — rather than just being over stressed – makes you feel helpless and hopeless. It causes you to loose motivation. It’s damaging emotionally and makes life seem not worth living. I’ve experienced it long years ago — so I try to avoid it.
A few years back I had 3 years of high stress. I was drowning in responsibilities and dead lines, but I had no choice but to push on and get through it. At some point in that period, I made up my mind that in order to survive (after I got through what was necessary) I was taking a year “to make me better”. To regroup, recharge and do what I could to make sure that I would have the best possible chance of being able to handle the responsibilities of the future. I wanted to rethink everything in my life and make sure I loved every aspect of it as much as I thought I did.
During that year I started TendingMyGarden.com in spite of all the “internet gurus” telling me that I couldn’t be successful because Organic Gardening is too competitive on the internet. That might be true. But I haven’t seen any other site with my approach. And — organic gardening is what I know and could write about forever without getting bored.
So – to answer my friend’s question: No, I don’t feel burned out. BUT —- my feelings about gardening have covered the range of emotions that I think all gardeners probably feel.
On the negative side:
- panic about the 100 degree heat and no rain;
( I always feel that I don’t want to garden when there’s a drought and severe heat. – I still do what I have to do — and the feeling passes when the weather cools and the rain comes.)
- not liking to haul water to my plants in grow bags;
- fear I’ll loose some things – and I did; (2 planting of squash, 1 plantings of cucumbers, a planting of beans; 5 eggplants; carrots)
- disappointed and disgusted that only 2 beans germinated and I have to plant again;
- fear I might have a blight on my tomatoes;
- tired of dealing with squash bugs and harlequin bugs;
- feeling sad and mad that a rabbit ate the tops of the few carrot I planted in the border
- helplessness when these things go wrong
Let’s you know you are merely tending your garden, but nature does what she wants.
But then there’s the positive side that makes me know I couldn’t survive without a garden:
- beautiful crop of potatoes and hardly any potato beetles – I killed about 30.
- dscovering Russian Kale, varieties of chard, and some new lettuce varieties
- discovering Hakurei turnips
- having Mizuna with or to fill in for lettuce
- beets that look better than any I’ve ever grown.
- tomatoes hanging on the vines in number
- blueberries in the freezer for winter and still producing
- Tristar everbearing strawberries giving me berries still — as a treat almost evertime I’m in the garden
- figs producing the biggest and best figs ever because of some special custom pruning
- asparagus beetles under control
- Got rid of the ants in the 2 grow bags that were swarming all over my eggplants
- fruit on the eggplants although they’re a bit behind schedule
- Onion harvest coming nicely. Hundreds in the porch. Several hundred curing on the screens. At least a hundred still in the garden.
- still harvesting lettuce in spite of the heat
- seeing good results from most of my experiments this year.
- knowing that I don’t have to be bothered with weeding because of mulching
- knowing that the way I harvest and preserve food is little by little rather than in great quanities
- eating from the garden everyday and knowing I’ll have “good” food to help us get through the months to come.
- knowing that things will be better next year because of some experiments I did this year
- knowing that when the weather changes and the soil is wet again — my excitement for planting will be renewed.
Knowing that I helped my readers Sandra, Richard, Patricia, and Gayle to have their first great harvest of onions was very rewarding as well. And Sandra just left a comment on a tomato post saying that she is delighted with her harvest of tomatoes and attributes that success to following my instructions. Makes me happy to be a part of the success of fellow gardeners who are reading TMG.
If you are overwhelmed with gardening chores and you feel that you’re close to burnout —- use it as an opportunity to back off a little and determine what you really want and what you’re realistically able to do.
That approach will keep you gardening and providing good food for your family for many years to come.
Organic Gardening it easy, efficient, effective and it’s a lot easier.
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