Don’t Do It

I have to keep telling myself–just because you can grow it, that doesn’t mean you should.

This winter has been almost unbelievably mild. The fruit trees are already blooming and budding. Cherie picked a big asparagus spear a few days ago (!). And all this warm sunny weather has me itching to start planting.

I’ve got the spring garden prepped and ready to go. I intend to beginning planting tomorrow, unless rained out. It’s the earliest possible date in my mind and it’s very rare to hit it.

But I keep looking at those big garden plots, in which I’ve invested so much time over the years, that we’ve decided to leave fallow this year. I find myself thinking maybe I should plant something in them. It’s been a bit of a struggle to stay disciplined.

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All the way to the woods is being retired this year

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The ground is whispering, “Seeds. Give me seeds.”

This morning as I was pondering the notion of planting them after all, I started thinking about hot peppers, because there’s a lesson in them.

I love hot peppers. They’re fairly easy to grow and the deer leave them alone. I used to grow them every year. Lots of them. But over time I learned my lesson. It’s foolish to grow more than you need.

Hot peppers are very prolific. One plant produces an abundance of peppers and they keep coming right up till the first frost.

But I’ve got enough hot sauce and dried pepper flakes put away now to last me the rest of my life. When the peppers are coming in you can hardly give them away at the market. Pigs and chickens won’t eat them. And taking a big sack of cayenne peppers to the food bank doesn’t do anything to relieve food insecurity. The reality is that just because I can grow hot peppers, doesn’t mean I should.

So as look out at those empty fields, I remind myself that this farm’s labor force consists of me alone, ┬áthat sometimes less is more, and that I am determined to run this place more more sensibly and pragmatically.

But, dang those gardens look inviting.

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