Gardening can sometimes be discouraging and overwhelming to both beginning and veteran gardeners. We anticipate gardening from late fall to early spring and can barely stand the excitement of what’s to come with the warmer weather. In some cases, like this year, spring arrives with enormous amounts of rain and just enough frost to bite the beautiful blooms on the strawberries we didn’t think we needed to cover or the apple trees which haven’t bore fruit in two years because of late frosts. And then we put out potatoes, onions, and cole crops just in time for the garden to flood and wash out the new plants. But isn’t that the life of a gardener/farmer? Gardening, like any kind of farming, is a gamble–a risk which you have to be willing to take.
As we trudge on through the growing season, I believe it is important for us to be our participants’ biggest cheerleader. Encourage them, and encourage them to encourage each other. We all make mistakes and we all need mentors, but we can all be successful gardeners. The weeds and pests may become more than we can manage, affecting the aesthetics, but they are not always detrimental to our crops. So rather than walking away from the garden, encourage your participants to dig just a bit deeper, spend more time celebrating the small accomplishments, and look harder to learn that success is not always what you see!