I planted my very first garden in May of this year. Even though I love to cook – and to cook with fresh ingredients, I’m a city girl for the most part. A true urbanite in my soul. Those who know me dropped their jaw when they found out about it. However, ongoing health issues led me to plant this garden to practice organic nutrition which seemed to be making some difference in the state of my health. (Sky high organic produce prices also played a part, to tell the truth.)
With the help of my Honey, my cousin and my beautiful nephews, we planted a very ample garden with onions, beets, green beans, snow peas, broccoli, eggplant, green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, swiss chard, artichokes, cucumbers, varieties of tomatoes (10 plants in all), yellow squash, green squash, acorn squash, gourd squash (I love squash LOL – and the zucchini flowers, YUM). We planted a couple of other veggies I can’t remember right this second. One cubic yard of high grade organic soil. Marigolds all around to keep out the bunnies. Pie tins to keep out the birds. Fenced in.
And then I waited.
I tended to the garden each and every day. I watered it at 6am each day. I weeded it periodically. I watched it often.
I waited some more.
I read the packets of things we’d planted, promising veggies to pick after 45-60 days at maximum.
I got advice from friends who know way more than me since they garden regularly.
I waited some more. I watered some more. I watered less. I checked some more. Some of the plants were dying. The snowpea plants wouldn’t vine on the sticks I put out there no matter how many times I went out and hand wrapped them. The tomatoes wouldn’t come out. Not a single sign of the broccoli or swiss chard. (Friends took pity on me and gave me some of their harvest of chard) At one point after months of this tender and attentive care, all the healthiest (albeit fruitless) vines of squash died on me.
I felt like it was all for nothing and I’d wasted time, effort, money. I thought “What the hell do I know about gardening?” I can’t seem to keep anything but my herbs and a wild cactus alive. (I’ve even been known to kill a basil plant in the past.) I sat with my Honey at the dinner table after cooking produce from a trip to the local Farmer’s Market and said “hell with it”. I was crazy to think I could ever create a garden in the first place.
I kind of ignored the garden for a while.
Finally, MANY MONTHS later, I was out in the garden at 5:30am and found BEANS! To my awe, they weren’t the perfectly rounded green beans on the seed packet. They were instead piattone!! A flatter, heartier variety that I used to enjoy frequently while I lived in Italy and have a hard time finding here. I was jumping up and down. You’d have thought I found a fabulous pair of Manolo’s on sale for $100 or something! I ran into the house, washed them and put them on a plate and took a picture. I even counted them. There were TWENTY-NINE! My initial excitement lasted all of 30 seconds and became quite deflated when I got real about the fruits of my labor and investment. TWENTY-NINE FRICKIN’ BEANS!!! (When I broke down the investment of cash – not including time and effort – each bean cost $27.59. And I thought the Farmer’s Markets were pricey!!)
And then, after a couple of days, I thought about it more. I saw a similarity between the 29 Beans and being in business.
Think about it…have you ever put your blood, sweat and all your spare funds in a project or a business that you really believed in only to see, after months or years, that you’re struggling to make ends meet? You keep plugging along and plugging along, maybe working longer hours, maybe changing tactics, maybe injecting more cash to stay afloat. And still, you’re struggling. The ROI just isn’t worth it!
After ruminating a bit, I realize I’ve learned a few things about the 29 Beans that I’ll share with you:
- Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, if you believe in it enough, it aligns with your Values, and you can see it paying off in the long run, DO IT.
- Don’t let the fact that you’ve never done something before stop you.
- When what you’re doing isn’t working, reach out for support from someone more expert than you who can advise you.
- No matter how long it says it’ll take on the package directions, expect things to take longer.
- Just when you’re about to give up, go a little longer. You never know how many beans might be just waiting to sprout.
- Everything happens in its own time, no matter how much you obsess over it.
- Even when what you get from your efforts turns out to be different than what was on the package, the result could be even better than you expected if you don’t give up.
- There’s nothing like the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits of your labor. (Piattone sauteed with tomatoes and onions tasted so much yummier from my own garden!)