Help is on the way.  

After my foolhardy fall, and the ensuing set back while I recovered, I came to the realisation I had stretched myself too thin.  As I tried to catch up again, I realised just how much of a thin line I was trying to balance myself on.  I was one disaster away from calamity.

Mustard cover crop
The mustard cover crop I sowed last week has come up. It does always take me by suprise as it is so fast to germinate and I some how end up amazed that it did decide to pop up!

I love the vegetable garden and love the produce that comes out of it even more.  But after more than a dozen seasons, I’d got the hang of it well and truly.  I instinctively know what needs to be done and when, and the spacing each plant requires as it moves from bed to bed in the well-planned crop rotation cycle.  The same old weeds that try their best to pop up time and time again are familiar old foes.  And a lot of the vegetables are the same each season as they are tried and trusted and we enjoy eating them.  There is a little room for something new and interesting for a bit of excitement, but on the whole, it is becoming a tad same samey.  Long gone are the joys of seeing something emerge for the first time, although I will never tire of seeing the new seedlings of a new season emerge from the seed raising mix.

Bitter Melon
There is always room in the garden for something different to try – although not all things get to grow again – but the fun is in the trying. Bitter Melon, while it looks cool, isn’t for us.

But these days I am more likely to have a burst of emotion if something behaves out of the ordinary and often that emotion isn’t likely to be a joyful one.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m bored with the garden, because I still love getting in there and getting things done and relish the routine as I whip things into control.  I also love being in the outdoors and enjoying what nature provides, and the slowing down that it enforces upon you…  so long as you don’t get behind and slip into the constant state of needing to catch up.

weeds in the brick path
There are weeds in the brick path around the rock. The audacity of it all… And now I have to find time to haul them out.

But these days the thrill of the garden comes from the challenge of taming the land beyond the vegetable patch…  looking at a spot of land and deciding to turn it into something beautiful and I have started off with a whiz and a bang and created several spots about the place that have stretched my skills and abilities and have me craving for more of the same.  Although, I have discovered, it is all very well to create, but you need to follow up with maintenance to keep everything looking nice.  And as I look forward with fresh eyes and the thrill of the challenge of something new, I look back over my shoulder at a growing list of things I need to do to keep everything in good order.

Bare earth
And then there is this… This excites me. I have some great plans for this patch of bare earth and can’t wait to sink my teeth into another crazy project!

For some spaces it is just a weed, and a prune and others require a significant tweaking as in my initial enthusiasm I overlooked an aspect that nature just laughed at my attempts and calls me back to try again, but differently.   I suggest this kind of trial and error out in the wild beyond the vegetable patch will challenge me for many seasons, until I understand the environment in the same way I understand growing my edibles.   The key going forward is to stay on top of the things I’ve already done as well as pressing on into the untamed.

Cover crop sown in pumpkin beds
Today my Handy Helper removed the spent pumpkins, weeded the beds and sowed a lupin cover crop in each one. The cover crop sowing was becoming pressing as they need the lingering warmth from the summer in the soil, and the temperatures are dropping as we approach winter.

But I am only one person, and not a young one at that.  Gone are the days I can toil in the soil from dawn to dusk without so much as a twinge.  And then of course there is my MSsy shadow that tugs at my coat tails reminding me to slow down all the time.  I have Hubby the Un-Gardener for the heavy stuff, but he has a real job and while he works from home isn’t often at my beck and call and sometimes things have to wait.  The other thing is my computer gardening, which don’t get me wrong – I love to do just as much as proper gardening – especially on a cold wet day, but it takes a considerable chunk of time to be done as well.

Cleaning the greenhouse
Meanwhile, while the pumpkin beds were being sorted I could get on with the overdue task of putting linseed oil on my dry and thirsty wooden benches in the dome, which needed to be done before I could bring plants in for the winter. It has been on the list for far too long and is such a relief to have it done.

So, with all of this in mind, I tentatively put the call out…  “Do you know anyone who can help me?” and the first person I asked said ‘why yes, I do… Would you consider me?”  I couldn’t be happier to have a good friend by my side in the garden.  It is only a few hours a week, but it is such a weight off my shoulders to have the routine tasks in the vegetable patch taken care of so I can sink my teeth into my projects and still get a good harvest at the end of the day.  And so now I’m a team.

Come again soon – many hands will make light work.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

19 thoughts on “Help is on the way.  

  1. Well done Sarah for knowing when you need to share the load. This way you’ll have energy for your other plans and enjoy them all the more. Good luck, and enjoy the weather slowing things down in Winter.

  2. Sounds like a great shift. A few hours help will make a huge difference. And free you up for your creative projects. I look forward to hearing more about this.

  3. That is sound thinking on your part Sarah and I wish for you that it becomes a reality, it will happen as you asked for it, for help. Good to delegate.

  4. Well done you Sarah… Its making the, decision the hardest. Once you have done that you will think Heck I should have done this ages ago. I have a few hours each week help and it makes life so much better. Aah the air b a d b. Looking forward to seeing a mini monet!!!

    1. Back in the day when I tried to convince Hubby the Un-Gardener to get help for his growing business, I said to him you don’t need to do everything to have success. “Colonel Sanders still makes great chicken and he’s dead!” I think it is the letting go of areas of control that is the hardest thing to do! : o)

  5. Hi Sarah,
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and have never sent a message before. I love reading and seeing what you’re up to. How lovely for you to ask for help and get an instant, positive response.
    I may have a little tip for you regarding weeds, like the ones you’ve mentioned in this latest post. For patios, paths and pavers – on a dry day, pour a thin stream of boiling water onto the weeds, immediately followed by a direct sprinkle of table salt. In regards to the amount of salt, something like a huge daisy or dandelion will need a good teaspoon but a tuft of wild grass will be much less. It does seem to work and in the area I did, the weeds have not reappeared so far. Obviously this can’t be used on flower beds or veg plots. I got this tip from Nancy Birtwhistle’s book ‘Clean and Green’ and have pretty much direct quoted her advice. She was a Great British Bake Off winner. Might be worth a try.

    1. Hi Kerry. Thanks for reaching out and thanks for the advice. Now that I have help it shouldn’t get that bad in the future. It shouldn’t be too hard to whip them out as sand is very forgiving and easy to work with – they’ll be going in no time. All the best. Cheers Sarah : o)

  6. Creating new or different areas in the garden is fun and inspirational for me too. The day by day maintenance is not as exciting. It has been so wet in my area all summer. Dry parts of the garden are now a bog, and plants I put in for a dry garden are all rotting/dying. On a cheerful note, plants I have never seen before are coming up – they must have lain asleep through the dry and the drought years.

    1. The weather certainly seems to be all over the place right now. We have hardly had much rain at all this year, although when it comes there is a lot of it! I guess the best thing to do is look for the silver linings in it all and hope that it evens outs eventually. : o)

  7. I read this post with great interest since I too love a new garden project beyond the veg patch. Upon such suggestions, my partner often replies with a question of whether he will be required to maintain it. 😉 I also deeply resonate with gardening over the years and physical limitations and needing help. I hope someday, someone will come my way as well! I enjoy your blog so much. lisa from california

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