Our “Good Enough” Vegetable Garden

posted by Andrea | 09/30/2014
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good enough vegetable garden

Growing up, my parents always had a very large vegetable garden. Although my dad did most of the work, I frequently picked the veggies, helped with weeding and watering, and of course, enjoyed eating everything!

Dave and I had a very large garden at our first house. It was right off our back door (which was right off our kitchen) with a variety of tomatoes, peppers, beans, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, all kinds of herbs, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins, watermelons, and even a couple cherry trees. It was A LOT of work to keep up — but we enjoyed doing it and I canned or froze much of our harvest, so it was definitely worth our time.

However, since we moved out of that house (almost 4 years ago now) we never got around to planting even one vegetable plant… until this year.

We moved to our current house right before Christmas of 2010 (cold, snowy, winter) so no vegetable garden yet.

Then the first summer in our house (2011), I was pregnant with Nora and we had so many other projects on our to-do list (like completely gutting the main floor and preparing for our international students) that a vegetable garden didn’t make the cut.

The second summer in our house was our massive kitchen renovation and 3 of our 4 siblings got married — nope, no garden that summer either.

The third summer was our landscaping summer — with the full intention of putting in a nice big vegetable garden. However, our yard was so torn up for parts of the summer and we were so busy watering the plants we just planted, growing our new grass seed, spreading wood chips, and running after Nora that once again, the garden didn’t happen. We said we would do it in the fall (we even had tentative plans) but then I got pregnant with Simon and felt so sick from the middle of July – the end of September. Again, no garden.

The fourth summer (this past summer), I told myself that no matter what, I WOULD plant a vegetable garden. Even if it was just a few bean plants and one tomato plant. Although the spring was pretty busy with a brand new baby, I did finally get around to planting a garden in June — once Dave was out of school.

Here it is in all its glory 🙂

I know, I know… it’s nothing you’ll be pinning to Pinterest or dream about for your own garden… but it was a “good enough garden” for us.

I can not tell you how much enjoyment Nora got from helping plant and water the garden, picking the veggies, watching the sunflowers bloom, cooking and eating the veggies, and telling everyone she met about her “bechtable garden that she planted with mom.”

As you can probably tell by the pictures of our garden, I didn’t do a whole lot to make it look nice.

I didn’t plant nice straight rows, I didn’t put any ground covering down to stop the weeds — nor did we bother pulling the weeds. I never fertilized it, I rarely watered it (we had a rainy summer), and I honestly almost forgot to pick it until Nora screamed with delight the first time she saw a red cherry tomato!

Although we regularly eat green beans (she even helps me snap them) Nora didn’t realize what the beans would look like growing on the plants — so our first “bean harvest” was equally exciting for her.

Everything was “new” for her — which meant it was all so exciting.

No, it wasn’t pretty.

Yes, I would have LOVED to grow more varieties, more quantity, have it look more organized…

But it was GOOD ENOUGH!

And we actually got a BUNCH of vegetables and flowers from it!

However, even if we never ate one bite of the vegetables from our garden, it was still worth it to see how excited she was.

Our plans for a future vegetable garden are still to have nice neat raised beds with a well-thought-out design and layout. I would love to be able to freeze and can a bunch of fruits and vegetables AND have the garden look attractive in our yard.

But for this year, I’m simply thrilled that we planted anything.

Just having a garden done and planted was good enough for Nora, it was good enough for me, and we definitely enjoyed eating fresh-from-the-garden veggies again!

fresh from the garden veggies

I know there are many of you out there struggling to get started on a house project, an organizing project, a landscaping project, a picture project, etc. because you don’t have the time or the energy to do it exactly the way you want to do it.

I completely understand how that feels… however, I can also tell you that just doing SOMETHING, as opposed to nothing, is a really great way to get started. It can’t hurt to just get started… and you might find that “done” = “good enough”.

At least that’s how it usually works for me 🙂

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21 comments

  1. Holly

    10/09/2014

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I’m planning to put in a vege garden this year, but I so don’t have green fingers. However, my daughter is 3 and struggles with veges, so I thought getting her involved in growing them would help. It’s so nice to see a real garden, as I don’t have the time/energy to make a show garden, so knowing that good enough is okay, is fantastic.
    Thank you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes Holly! Good enough is always enough 🙂 good luck with your garden!

    [Reply]

  2. LoriB

    10/01/2014

    I like the way your “good enough” garden looks. Its really quite beautiful.

    [Reply]

  3. Jacquie

    09/30/2014

    I agree with another commenter – would love to hear your thoughts on where to start with a garden. And, I totally agree with the Voltaire quote.

    [Reply]

  4. Abbie

    09/30/2014

    “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
    Yes, sometimes good enough is enough!

    [Reply]

  5. Robyn

    09/30/2014

    Would you consider doing a post more in detail about a vegetable garden? Some of us have never done one and even yours from this year looks intimidating but exciting! it would be great to have some pointers on just planting a simple, low maintenance, inexpensive garden. I don’t know where to start (seeds? plants? dirt? month? etc) so I just avoid it all together.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  6. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    09/30/2014

    We planted a garden again this year. Well, my husband did. And every year I say that I’m going to do better in weeding. And I don’t! My vegetables still grow – regardless of weeds. It doesn’t look pretty but the produce is delicious, and it’s good enough for me, too!

    [Reply]

  7. bethbeaudoin

    09/30/2014

    Adorable pics of “Nora the Gardener” Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (pun intended). 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Sarah

    09/30/2014

    This is so great! No garden is as ever good as you want it, it’s good for people to see that doing very little will still give you a good harvest. It doesn’t take a green thumb, raised beds, fancy compost or all those things we see pinned.
    I did something similar to you this year, we have some land that get better sun than at our house, so I sprayed the grass, tilled it lightly and threw some seeds in and checked on them once a week and got a great harvest. There were weeds, but who cares, it doesn’t have to be pretty to produce yummy food and pretty sunflowers!

    [Reply]

  9. susie

    09/30/2014

    That’s my garden every year! Although we live in wyomng and gardening is hard here, hot and dry! But I love to plant things… even if its not much!

    [Reply]

  10. Avia Thompson

    09/30/2014

    Such a great reminder! I put off starting so many projects because I don’t have time/energy to get to my vision. I think I need a sign on my wall that says “Good Enough”. 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Elizabeth

    09/30/2014

    Thanks, Andrea! I love this post. It’s full of cute pictures, but it also reminds me to fearlessly BEGIN whatever it is I want to do. Perfection can be a big enemy of mine that holds me back from embarking on a journey I know will involve “learning opportunities.” Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  12. Pamela

    09/30/2014

    I can so relate to this!!! We have a garden and my husband says it’s for educational purposes only. 🙂 It doesn’t look good, but the veggies sure taste good! And our kiddos are learning where food comes from.

    [Reply]

  13. Erin @ Magenta & Lime

    09/30/2014

    I love your garden! It’s much more than I’ve ever even tried to accomplish!! I love that it’s exactly what is perfect for your family and not everyone else (including Pinterest)…I’m actually blogging about that today when it comes to fall decorations!

    Have a beautiful day!!

    xoxo, erin

    [Reply]

  14. ShellyL

    09/30/2014

    Love this post! The pics of Nora are priceless! It looks like she had a great time with it. I’m always working in the spring when it’s time to plant and very busy so I never have time and haven’y done a garden since before kids. Maybe next year i can put in just a few things. You’ve inspired me to try it. Thank you!! 🙂

    [Reply]

  15. Diana

    09/30/2014

    I love this!! Ours has been “good enough” too for the last couple of years. But I’m so thankful we have a spot to grown anything at all, and just like Nora, my 2 year old has LOVED the garden. He eats all the fresh herbs just like candy (mint, dill, oregano, parsley, basil, even lavender!) and I think his favorite are green peas that we grow in the spring.

    Yours looks great–maybe not how you envision your ideal garden looking, but it grew really well and looks like you got so much yumminess from it!

    [Reply]

  16. lydia @ five4fivemeals

    09/30/2014

    It was so good that you gave Nora that experience. We haven’t had much luck this year with our garden, but I just keep trying. It’s important to me.

    [Reply]

  17. April

    09/30/2014

    Andrea,
    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. Nora is SOOO precious. Makes me miss those days. I know it is not easy to find the time to do everything you do, but you will be so happy that you did when you look back on your life. You are a great mom.

    [Reply]

  18. Kim

    09/30/2014

    I think Nora grew as much as your garden did!

    This summer was great for gardens (I also live in West Michigan) and my girls loved eating the fresh beans and sugar peas. What a blessing to experience and enjoy an “easy” garden!

    [Reply]

  19. Kimberley

    09/30/2014

    Great job! The fact that you guys did it at all is what matters most and you got some really cute pics of Nora too!!! 🙂

    [Reply]

  20. Organize 365

    09/30/2014

    Yeah!! DONE is better than perfect!

    🙂
    Lisa

    [Reply]