So I think it time for a little reality check before the next farmdate.
Not everything works out as planned and I was recently reminded to share my failures and challenges as much as I share the successes.
So I’ve decided to do exactly that with this blog post. Here are a bunch of my mistakes over the last few weeks and hopefully this can help someone who is reading this or at least provide some light entertainment.
Firstly … the garden. Well I don’t know about you but I had this image of this pristine, perfectly manicured garden with trees laden with fruit. Veggie patches blossoming with abundance of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, chilli and all sorts of fresh home grown goodness.
The reality is that it is far from that. Even with all the best intentions, failure is only a matter of moments away. A lesson I’ve had to learn to accept and now document for the knowledge and entertainment of others.
My seeds and seedlings which I planted in the 1st couple of weeks have all stalled and or died. All my cabbage and chinese cabbage has been and gone with not so much as a single leaf added to any of my meals. (all of them bolting to seed before producing any eatable product)
So here are my top 3 challenges/mistake/errors when it comes to the garden as well as how I’ve over come them.
1- Soil health… Get composting NOW!!!
This is a big one and the reason my seeds germinated so well but stalled in their growth. Now this might seem like a no brainer/obvious and maybe it is… but I was caught in this trap. I used normal potting mix to germinate the seeds but then for some reason my mind felt that watering them was sufficient enough to get them to the stage where they could be planted in the ground. This is not the case! Once seeds sprout they need additional nutrition to kick on and grow.
So to combat this going forward, all soil will be conditioned with increased levels of organic material and most importantly creating and using my own compost. If you are thinking about starting a veggie patch, I strongly recommend starting a compost solution before hand. Of course you could just buy it… but that gets expensive and considering up to 40% of our waste can be composted, it makes sense to do it. There are many different methods but of course I went for the cheapest solution which is to just start
Accept the fact that you cannot control the weather. Instead take the time to look at forecasting and understand whats coming over the next few weeks and plan ahead. If I had paid attention to this I would have known that a mini heat wave was on it’s way and planned accordingly. Instead my pride n joy was left roasting in the sun over many days without an ounce of protection.
I also missed the memo about the strong winds that destroyed half my corn crop. This meant some of the corn took an absolute beating and used energy trying to stay alive rather than developing kernels of corn on the cob.
3- Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
I’ve come to learn that a little more effort up front leads to energy and time saving later. This is very true when it comes to mulching and I’m sure that is a step that many pretend farmers before me have made the crucial mistake of leaving this step out.
Mulch serves many purposes but the 2 core reasons is to keep your weeds at bay as well as keeping moisture in your soil. Without it my soil has dried up quickly and encouraged weeds to bloom and compete with my veggies. Its super simple… don’t be lazy and mulch!
Away from the garden I have also dropped the ball on a few things. I can’t think of any other way to put it than … I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
Emotionally it has been an incredible challenge to get used to the fact that I am home dad and no longer the corporate man earning corporate $$$. So to compensate for that I started pushing hard on the food truck idea and of course you all know that I know own one.
So now I find myself trying to run a household (new to me), work the land (coz I wanted it to look picture perfect), spend time at the kids school, and organise to get a food truck and business up and running.
I found myself emotionally drain, physically tired and in the end not accomplishing much at all. The household is running ok … not as great as I want it but ok. The garden is a mess and stuff is everywhere and well the food truck is still not operating yet.
So it’s time to implement years of my corporate training into my daily life. Time to priortise, plan, and establish process. I’ll update in the coming weeks with my progress on the 3 P’s above. Maybe sharing it here is what I need to hold myself accountable.
So the journey so far has not been all sunshine, lollipops n rainbows. Like anything we do in life, there are going to be hurdles. So now watch me jump over them!