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Gardening: Encouragement, Discouragement: And Why You May Lack Support

Before I get into this, I should probably state that I’ve been looking into late summer planting. I know that we are in Zone 6b.

MotherEarthNews has got a fantastic little tool that told me everything I could still yet plant.

So, no. No matter how frustrated and upset I am right now: still not giving up.

I have always loved this quote:


I have also felt extremely depressed, angry and had this gnawing resentment growing in me over the course of the past few months.

I was so excited. This is going to sound profoundly stupid and naive, I am sure (It definitely does to me, in retrospect): but one of the things I was looking most forward to was the fact that my infant would be starting baby lead weaning right around the first batch of harvest times. Meaning, he’d eat fresh vegetables I planted, tended to, and grew myself. I had all these pie in the sky visions of serving up vegetables to people I cared about that I had grown myself. Of having so much surplus, I’d be able to donate to the local food pantry. Of checking out the local Rolla Saturday Farmer’s market, and working towards a goal of one day, selling there. Of selling to the local health food store, one day, too. Wonderful ideas about helping dogs, working with transport rescue, and other things, too. And I’ll tell you something: each and every one of these has been met with challenges. People who won’t listen to me.

This morning, I realized something: they don’t listen, for two reasons, one I cannot do anything about- so I need to just let that go. The other, not so much. The other, I need to work on.

1. I wasn’t communicating very well. This lead to people misunderstanding quite a bit.

2. People want to cling to their own bullshit. I can try as much as I want to show a better way, but it won’t ever matter.

Though both intersected and interfered with what I wanted, the first is the only one I have any control over. The other? It means that some of my dreams and goals, lacking that support, aren’t feasible right now. So, I need to switch gears, focus on the ones that are. The hard, brutal truth is, those that are not feasible are not feasible because I refuse to give up on my convictions- and if someone else’s bullshit gets in the way of that in a way that makes it impossible for me to reach those goals while still maintaining those convictions: I’m not even going there.

And sometimes it happens that way, unfortunately. Not always. But sometimes, you have to take a long look at your resources and realize limitations. I did. A shared goal is a wonderful thing- until it isn’t. You can have all the shared goals and passions you want: but if the convictions do not line up, you’ve got doodly squat is what you’ve got. I am VERY fortunate to have a partner that supports me wholly- were it not for him, I would have given in, compromised my convictions and ended up with much more heartbreak than hope. No, thanks. That one does not relate to the gardening, however- and it’s just something I’m not ready to write about.

As to the gardening- I was champing at the bit eagerly. Planning, drawing up things, getting ready.

Sprog 2 and I excitedly sorted our expansive seed orders as they came in. Then, we got that late spring snow. A cold, wet spring.

Stubbornly, I set my little jaw and said, “Nu uh, not giving up.”

When I talked about getting chickens and ducks, I saw an expression go over Kurt’s face. Worry. He asked me if I wasn’t taking on too much. He didn’t want me to get overwhelmed with a new baby and everything else. He meant well, he honestly did.

I thought, “What on earth are you talking about? This is important! This is what I want!”

I was excited, so very excited because I had these dreams of being able to provide for everyone here. I knew I was good with animals. I knew I was good with growing things. I knew I could do this.

I frustratedly watched as those rains gave way to a jungle. Sprog 2 and I had planted the early spring stuff, only to have much of it die by either frost or rotting due to all the rain. (We did mulch and cover- which saved peppers, tomatoes and the ill-fated, I shouldn’t have tried to transplant it cilantro.)

That’s okay. I set my little jaw some more.

Nu uh, not giving up.”

I’d see friends lamenting not having the space to garden, and I thought about how lucky, how fortunate we were. I felt really blessed, even looking at the crazy grass and weeds growing everywhere, which would need clearing.

It really didn’t seem to me that those around me appreciated, truly appreciated how fortunate we were. It didn’t seem to me they realized what an awesome opportunity we really had. I couldn’t tell you what they realized or didn’t realize. I only knew that day in, day out, I’d find myself struggling out there- I even dug up a bunch of top soil with the baby in a sling.

I am embarrassed at how much I’ve cried over this, or how heartbroken it made me. How depressed and resentful I began to get.

There are raised beds that have remained covered in weeds and overgrown by grass. I consoled myself by focusing on smaller garden areas, containers and the experimental hugelkultur bed. Sprog 2 and I had dumped all the little seed starter trays, thinking the seeds had been killed: well, now I see this pile of my fantastic compost-dirt is thriving with random plants. A few easily identifiable, some not so much. That should be an adventure. My container plants are glorious. I feel good about that. My hugelkultur bed?

First planting, I came out, completely thrilled to see the healthy little seedlings popping up, quickly.

Then I came out to find them stomped, dug up and destroyed. I sat on the ground and cried like a little kid with a toy taken away.

Then, one of my small space gardens met the same fate, after having gotten to a much more successful stage of things: we’d picked an early tomato, already, even. Bawled. I mean, sat down and just cried my eyes out.

I felt like a whiny little brat.

This happened four times, with the hugelkultur bed, before this last go- and this last go is thriving. I don’t want to jinx it, though, but I’m seeing real, healthy growth at the rate it should be.

One day, Kurt and I were talking. He told me he worried because he has friends visit and I don’t. He socializes and I don’t. He does things and I don’t.

I nearly lost my mind, I am not even going to lie to you on that front.

I thought about each and every Saturday Farmer’s Market I’d missed.

The Seed Festival I had been joyfully talking about for weeks, I’d missed.

I had to kind of stop myself for a minute, because if I started yelling: I knew I wasn’t going to stop.


When we met, one of the things that he knew of me was that I had some pretty serious social-phobia. I hated it. He also knew that. Over time, he slowly took me out, introduced me to people and before long, I didn’t have issues with social phobia anymore. Still an introvert, though. It isn’t that I don’t like socializing, it’s that I want it to mean something.

At the same time, I was making use of this amazing and completely weird opportunity I had- an opportunity not many are afforded: I could find myself, really find myself without too much worry. In the past, I’d had a lot of worry, had a messed up, head full of crazy and didn’t have that option, really. Well, I’d been interacting with homesteaders, farmers, preppers and others. I was enjoying myself. I love the conversations. I knew who I wanted to interact with: people who were doing more than just complaining. Matter of fact, they weren’t doing a lot of complaining, not the way I’d see others do, anyway- staying informed, yes, but more than that, they were doing.

I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be interacting with people who were doing.

I didn’t want to talk about the bad, anymore, in the context of this larger, horribly fearful thing: I wanted to talk about the doing.

The problem being I WAS NOT DOING. Matter of fact, every time I tried doing, it was an uphill battle, it was frustrating and making me cry.

It still is.

We just came to this point of understanding though, that day. I frustratedly sputtered out what I felt, without being a jerk about it. (I have tangled with a nasty temper, so when I say I wanted to scream, that’s a VERY bad thing- on me. I’d come to a point of having a great handle on that.)

I had noticed that if it involved getting out there, or relaxing: he was tremendously supportive. That’s because when he met me, I was so tightly wound up, all I really wanted was to be able to learn to relax, not worry so much, and not be afraid in social settings.

Yeah, hey, I got that, now.

Still don’t want to socialize purely for socialization’s sake. It’s just not me. I don’t wanna make conversation just to fill the silence- I happen to like silence a great deal. And so on, and so forth. I’m just no longer afraid of being in those situations.

It finally came down to my telling him:

Look, the things I want to do, I am not doing- because I am so busy doing the things other people want me to do, I am so busy doing the things other people think I want to do, and I am so busy encouraging everyone else in doing the things they want to do. It’s gotten out of hand, I’m depressed and I cry all the time, and I NEED to work on and reach the goals I’ve set. That’s who I am. I make goals, I work towards them, and though, yes, I have walked away from many- that is because I have been searching for myself and I found myself in the dirt, in the growing, in the tending. But I’m stuck and I hate it.

I am not going to go into the things that have stood in the way of my creating a more sustainable situation, or that have completely derailed other goals I’d set. That’s extremely personal.

I will say this much, though-

Nu uh, not giving up.”

Now that the communication between my partner and I has come to a much better place of understanding, things have gotten much better and I’ve got some fall planting to get underway.



2 thoughts on “Gardening: Encouragement, Discouragement: And Why You May Lack Support Leave a comment

  1. Good for you, girl. I can totally identify with the frustration of not being able to meet your goals, and also the failures along the way. One year I planted 12 tomato plants only to have gophers eat them one by one. I didn't give up and replanted them, thinking surely I'd get something, and then we had a wicked hail that wiped them out. I was so angry and frustrated, but that angry and frustrated turned to determination and solution (for the gophers anyway—can't control the hail, ha ha). Anyway, all that to say, I'm with you. And in a way, you remind me of a younger version of me.


  2. I am an introverted person as well. My garden is my safe haven, I like doing things, and I too like it quiet. When the fruits of my labors do not turn out as planned, I know the feelings you've expressed. Last year I resolved to plant a lot of what I know works well – (zone 11) – zucchini, grapes, strawberries. I limited myself to a few new items that I knew could go either way, (thus limiting my frustration). I had a few 'safe' items go bad, but had a few unknowns do well. Overall, I think it was a good strategy and I AM feeding the neighborhood both zucchini, grapes, and soon figs. My handing out fruits/veggies is my way of socializing, which also gives me a solid topic that I'm comfortable with. On a more frustrating note, one can not choose their neighbors. House over the back fence has new occupants who sprayed my entire fence line with weed killer, (and that's where my strawberry patch was). I immediately uprooted all blooming plants and replaced into pots. Thankfully I have a really long growing season and most plants have recovered…. Be kind to yourself over things you can't control, but at the same time recognize that failures are sometimes rooted in unrealistic goals… Next year's garden will be a new and improved version because you will make adjustments to things that didn't work. Good luck!


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