Gardening philosophy: See how it goes

Earth Day is this week, so it seems like a good time to talk about vegetable gardens. It also seems like a lot of people are planning gardens this year. Whether it’s a desire to be more self-sufficient, or looking for an activity to keep kids busy during quarantine, or the joy that comes from watching things grow, there are a lot of up sides to gardening.

I’m not sure what our garden plans are yet. I think the best description of my philosophy is “see how it goes.”

It’s hard to overstate the mess that was the vegetable garden last year. I had high hopes of weeding at least the outer raised beds, but only made it about a quarter of the way around in the spring before I gave up.

I blame the baby.

Ellie gardening at 1 year old

One year ago this week

We spend plenty of time outside–that’s our favourite place to be–and Ellie is pretty good at amusing herself while Mama works.

But the garden ground was too uneven for her a year ago when she was still unsteady on her feet. She spent most of her time in the garden frustrated. She took two steps and tripped. She fell down and couldn’t get back up. She got caught in weeds or plants. I felt like I was torturing the baby every time I tried to work.

We both found joy when the raspberries ripened. Ellie very quickly learned that any red berries were good to eat, and I loved seeing her reach for berries one after another. She still got tangled up, but she persisted because nothing comes between this girl and her fruit.

Red raspberries

In the fall, I really, really wanted to prune the raspberries. I didn’t do it the year before (again, blame the baby), and I knew we’d have a bigger crop and easier picking experience this year if I could get it done.

Between some early mornings, naptimes, and one baby-free day, I got the raspberries done. There were major weeds, many dead canes, multiple wheelbarrow loads, a lot of careful realignment of canes behind the wire trellises, and of course my favourite furry sidekick.

Baxter laying beside the pruned row of raspberries

But they got done and they’re looking great. Seeing the new leaves sprouting on the tidy rows brings me joy.

Some asparagus is starting to poke up–maybe this will be the year we finally pick some–and the rhubarb has emerged. A sandbox has also landed in the garden. Thanks to its arrival (and some temporary pet worms), the asparagus is already weeded.

Ellie playing in her sandbox in the garden

There’s more to do, but I’m adhering to my “see-how-it-goes” philosophy. No matter what, I’m anticipating more joy this summer with our girl.

Are you planning to grow any vegetables this year? Do you garden with your kids? Any tips for keeping toddlers occupied while working outside?


(For anyone looking for more garden tips, Amanda at Life at Cloverhill is doing an IGTV series where she answers reader’s vegetable garden questions.)


8 thoughts on “Gardening philosophy: See how it goes

  1. These photos are lovely! I think you’ll both have so much fun out there this summer. My tip for lengthening toddler busy time outside: add water! Even a bowl she can dip into and tip into the sandbox will add a new dimension to her fun. And my second tip – wait till she’s coming to the end of dry sandbox play before you add it. 😉

  2. Lots of gardening going on in our house. We have a much better house for it now and are excited for how it’s going to turn out. We have to figure out fencing still though. I’m not sure how permanent I’d want to go with fencing because the previous owners put the garden in a shady spot. We may have to relocate.

  3. I spent the past weekend in my garden: tilling, raking transplanting strawberries, planting seeds. It’s such hard work but so rewarding!

    I think your approach this year is great. Just see how it goes. Maybe start small with one or two tomato plants.
    It’s hard to keep up with an existing garden but even harder to catch up when one has gotten the upper hand.
    Just see what you and Ellie can keep up with. And think of any harvest as a blessing! 😊

  4. While I read every post you put up here, Julia, I don’t always get to comment. Wishing you well in your gardening this year and do what you can. May your garden grow well once we really get into the growing season (without the snow that comes down as I write this reply).

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