A lesson I learned from my garden

by CynthiaYockey on June 1, 2014

My newly planted heirloom tomatoes in a raised bed garden: Brandywine, Sudduth's strain; Brandywine, Liam's strain; Orange Russian 117; Dr. Wyche's Yellow; and Marianna's Peace.

My newly planted heirloom tomatoes: Brandywine, Sudduth’s strain; Brandywine, Liam’s strain; Orange Russian 117; Dr. Wyche’s Yellow; and Marianna’s Peace. The plants were in the red cups, which were labeled with each plant’s name.

“Life sort of unfolds, and certain things, which you can’t plan, reveal themselves at the right time.” Goldie Hawn

I love to grow heirloom tomatoes from seed because it’s a thrill to see the little plants burst out of the soil while it’s still grey and freezing outside. Plus, growing from seed gives you the largest selection of tomato varieties. I usually spend many happy hours in January perusing my favorite seed websites and tomato growers’ forum to select the varieties I want to grow.

But this winter was harsh and instead I whiled away the hours shoveling snow. I felt depressed and hopeless about planting any seeds because I didn’t see how I would cover the expense of getting the soil ready. However, I had promised my neighbor I would grow some seeds for her so I had to do it. Then I felt depressed and hopeless because I didn’t get around to ordering my seeds until March and didn’t plant them until March 27. I figured that meant I might not have seedlings mature enough to plant and hardened off until the end of May: just in time for our area, if I were lucky. But I still didn’t see how I could afford new potting mix for the half of my garden that grows in containers.

When you can’t see your goal, it’s hard to move forward. But I could see the next step, and then the next, and the next, and day-by-day I kept going, frightened and depressed as I was. If it was too expensive to do the right soil preparation for the containers to grow tomatoes, then I would grow basil and marigolds in them. At least I would grow eight tomato plants in the raised bed garden I share with with neighbor and deliver the plants I’d promised.

Then last week luck and inspiration opened the way for me to have room for all the varieties of tomatoes I was growing. The luck: my neighbor got me a load of compost for only $35, enough for my containers, raised bed garden and the patch where I grow Yellow Doll watermelons for the sweet Jehovah’s Witness who has been visiting our family for about the last 20 years. Then the inspiration: shades of Norman Borlaug and organic(ish) methods be damned, I own Miracle Gro! If I deep root water my containers every time with a dilute solution of Miracle Gro, my tomatoes will thrive in the potting mix I have supplemented with a bit of the new compost.


So the lesson is that there’s only so much you can plan ahead in some situations. But if you have a goal and just get started and keep doing each day’s tasks to make progress, then you give luck, inspiration and helpful people a chance to help you attain it.

So I am jumping back into blogging. It has been difficult to write because my father is 98 now and I have to be more vigilant and spend more time sitting with him to keep him feeling cheerful. I also have to cook almost everything for him from scratch due to his low-sodium diet. I can’t work at my desktop computer while I’m doing those things. I need a computer I can carry around so I can watch the stove or sit with my father and write. I need a laptop. And I’m in a catch-22 trying to earn the money to buy it myself because I can’t get to my desktop computer to do the work that would make me the money to buy the laptop.

I mentioned my dilemma to a wise friend, who pointed out that if I resume writing for my blog and don’t ask for donations, I’m stopping the flow of love. Face palm! She reminded me that I feel good when I can help people and that I ought not deny the people who do feel kindly toward me and want hear more of what I have to say the chance to feel good by making it possible for me to write more. A laptop could get me about 15-20 more hours of productivity, writing-wise, per week. It would give me the chance to build a career that would enable me to support myself when my father is gone. I don’t have any savings due to long-standing health challenges, which my doctors considered hopeless. However, thanks to reader donations, which gave me access to the tools and medical care I needed over the last four years, it looks like I’ve resolved them and I’m finally healthy enough to work. Obtaining a laptop is the next step.

So if you feel kindly toward me, it’s affordable for you and it would uplift you, I will be very grateful for your donation to my laptop fund. I will send donors a link to a members-only newsfeed site I’m developing as a thank-you gift. It’s in a rudimentary stage now, but when I have the laptop and can work regularly, I look forward to making it something convenient and useful for people who love having a bird’s eye view of the top headlines of leading blogs and news sites in a variety of subject areas.

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Peter June 4, 2014 at 5:17 am

Glad to see you posting. I’ve worried about you when you didn’t answer my E-mails. Did I tell you about my new girlfriend. Born on the 26 of January she is the Black Puglet of Doom, the Personal Sized One Headed Cerberus, Queen Daisy of Resume Speed. Commander Fatboy is teaching her the Pug business.

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