What makes it all worthwhile

I’ve posted a lot about my struggles with both landscaping and gardening this year, so it can seem like it’s always a disaster. Indeed, some days it seems like it’s all too much trouble and you wonder why you even bother. But that mood always passes because I like growing things, and when it works out it’s all worth it.

The reason I first got into planting my own garden is because I love homegrown peas and green beans. I don’t know why but you simply cannot find them in stores or even farmer’s markets that taste the same as the ones you grow yourself. I like to eat them raw, and there’s a big taste difference, especially green beans. It doesn’t matter how good they might look when I go to buy them, they just don’t pass the taste test.

So I missed the taste of those fresh green beans and peas when I started living on my own and soon got some pots to try to grow them on the deck. I had limited success with that and the next year decided to rent a public garden plot to try it more seriously. Of course it’s a big plot so I couldn’t just grow those two things and I had to try to plant some other things as well. Even if I didn’t really eat some of these other veggies, I knew I could give them away.

That first year I had so many green beans I couldn’t keep up with them. I’ve never had quite as much success since, but beans are always something you can rely on. Sometimes I have a hard time getting them started in the spring, but once they’re going, you can count on them to keep producing into September and maybe even beyond. Getting all of that for $2 worth of seeds has to be one of the best deals on the planet.

Peas can be a little more temperamental but with persistence I always manage to get them to grow as well. They don’t last as long or produce as much but I treasure the taste of what I do get, and it’s always a long wait until the next year when I get to eat them again. The good thing is you can plant a second crop if you time it well, which I tried for the first time last year and will probably always do from now on.

In any case, the beans and peas are hitting their stride now. My son is having fun helping me pick them and always asks for a bean to eat with dinner, along with some of the tomatoes and strawberries that we are growing. He doesn’t like the peas, but we’ll try to work on that. And I’m able to have beans with dinner almost every night along with an occasional pea snack. It may not seem like a big deal, but this is when gardening gets satisfying. It’s the big payoff for all the hard work.

This is one of the central themes of Farmer Bear’s Garden. There’s a lot of hard work leading up to harvest day, but when it comes it’s all worthwhile, and there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting down to the table and eating food that you grew yourself, along with seeing your family enjoying it as well.

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