April Jeppson: To garden or not to garden, that is the question

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, April 11, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


One month. In exactly one month I will be gardening. I am repeating this in my head over and over again as I drive-through slush and pick away at ice covering my van’s door handle. but seriously one month!

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When I started my garden six years ago, it was to help my family save money on our summer grocery bill. I figured if I could spend $50 to set my garden up and harvest a few pints of tomatoes and some zucchini and cucumbers, I’d be coming out ahead easy.

There were years when I had too much and couldn’t eat it fast enough. Then there have been years when I go all-out getting plants, seeds, fertilizer and flowers, and I might only harvest half of that back in produce.

It’s not that I have bad soil. It’s not the vegetable’s fault. I take 100% credit for the demise of my garden.

If you visit my house in the summer, you’ll notice two gardens in my backyard. One is pristine. Water drainage system in place, tomatoes over 5 feet tall, not a weed in site. Then there is the other garden. I lovingly refer to it as The Secret Garden — weeds so tall that it’s hard to find the plants, cucumbers lost in the foliage and beginning to look more like zucchini because they should have been picked days ago.

The fist garden is my neighbor Jim’s. The second garden is mine.

I love the thought of growing my own food. I love walking through the aisles of flowers and small plants at the garden centers and daydreaming. Do you think I could get bell peppers to grow this year? Maybe if I did two Sweet 100s and two Sun Golds — hmmm, is that too many cherry tomatoes? I love the art of planning out what goes where. I love getting my knees full of dirt into the early evening as I’m finishing the last touches of planting.

There’s something mildly rebellious about planting a garden and growing your own food in today’s society — to be self reliant and take your little piece of Earth and do something with it. I enjoy being mildly rebellious. I also enjoy sipping lemonade and not weeding.

I rock my garden the first week. I’m even good for the first month. I pull a few weeds and water it when I should. Then I head up North for a few days to be with my family. Then I get busy at work. Then my kids have some play dates, and I leave again for a few days. All of a sudden, I walk into my backyard, and it’s July, and I can’t tell what’s a weed and what’s a plant.

So my dilemma every year is how much time/energy/money should I put into my garden.

Last year I scaled my garden back. I knew I’d be out of town and busy, so I planted a few things and figured I’d fill in the gaps with the farmers market. I think i got three BLTs out of my garden and about a dozen small pumpkins. I think I’m drawn to pumpkins because I can just let them roam and they will take care of themselves. I enjoy a plant that has enough confidence to grow without my constant encouragement.

This year I’m torn. I don’t wanna give up on my garden, but how relaxing would it be to plant nothing, support my local growers, hit up the farmers market weekly and just enjoy looking at Jim’s gorgeous work from my lawn chair.

Thankfully I still have a month to figure out what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll scroll pinterest today and see if anything inspires me.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.