Dear Gardener, You Don’t Have to do it All

Greenhouse filled with seedlings

All of the sudden, the season begins.

Snow is gone, fields are (mostly) dry, and we’re tucking transplants into soil.

Perhaps you’re beginning, too, preparing your garden and starting seeds and dreaming of the harvests to come.

Here on the farm, we’re dancing the greenhouse shuffle: moving transplants out to the field, replacing them with newly seeded trays, cleaning up the over-wintered spinach to make way for early tomatoes.

Before the weeds sprout and the summer runs away, there’s one important thing to know:

You don’t have to do it all.

Really.

Did you get that?  Because I’ve had to tell this to myself over and over.  For years.

You don’t have to do it all.

The romance of self-sustainability is built on the myth that we can create a sustainable life by ourselves.

We can’t.

And we’re not meant to.

Everywhere we look there are threads connecting us: mycelium and roots running through soil, crops growing up from that underground world to nourish us, water flowing through it’s cycle from earth to air and back again, and we’re in the mix of it all, tending and eating and composting.

Maybe you have dreams of shirking the supermarket and growing all of your own food this year.  Maybe you’re starting your first garden and want to try your hand at a little of everything.

Wherever you’re at, I give you permission to give yourself permission.

Permission to adjust; to buy cucumbers and tomatoes should your crops get hit with pests; to scale back the size should the garden become unruly; to do what brings you joy and let go of the rest.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve let go of sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys; we’ve let go of certain crops that just don’t grow well for us; we’ve found other farmers who are really good at raising the things that stress us out.

Like the connections in the garden between soil, plant, water and sun, we can make connections to support us: the vegetable grower and the livestock farmer; the farmers market and the garden.

You don’t have to do it all.  You just have to do your part.  Do the part that challenges and thrills you, that excites and invigorates you, that brings you into presence through the simple act of doing it.

Grow what brings you more alive.

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