Grow a cornucopia of produce by working on the garden a bit at a time. (file photo)

Grow a cornucopia of produce by working on the garden a bit at a time. (file photo)

Mary Lowther column: A bit at a time the key for gardening

Nobody in his right mind wants to work in this heat of the day if he isn’t getting paid.

By Mary Lowther

Many gardeners begin a garden in spring full of enthusiasm, digging and planting with visions of cornucopias overflowing with vegetables.

But after a few weeks the weeds look too overwhelming, the rewards too few, the work too much, and the heat — well, nobody in his right mind wants to work in this heat of the day if he isn’t getting paid. (That’s why I have David).

These gardeners haven’t learned how easy gardening can be and how they could have looked forward to several more months of enjoyable work outside. The secret is to spend a little time every day in the cool of early morning or evening. If they work one section of the garden one day and another the next, after a few days the whole garden will have been covered. Weeds won’t have had time to proliferate and vegetables won’t become over-ripe or disease-ridden because the gardener will be out there regularly to nip any problem in the bud before it becomes a major, energy-sapping event. This daily practice becomes a daily routine and a respite from the rest of the daily grind.

If you normally do a bit of exercise in the morning or evening, why not garden instead? You’ll still get a workout and have more than muscles to show for it. The downside comes with winter and the wrenching away from the garden, back to the exercise and no more valid excuse for an untidy house. I sympathize with a farming friend of my mom’s who worked outside until she couldn’t stand the mess in the house, then she worked in the house until she couldn’t stand the mess outside.

Even though most of us lead equally busy lives, our gardens will reward us not only with food on our plates but with a sense of accomplishment and confidence in our ability to sustain ourselves.

Someday our lives may depend on this talent.