A Gardener’s Patience

South Dakota photography
While staying home the past year-and-a-half, I’ve been given plenty of time to focus attention on areas I  neglected in the past. One of these areas is food. And in our case, homegrown food.

Country Man is a natural gardener, a farmer at his heart’s core. He knows soil, he has a gift and confidence in knowing whether a plant is growing and producing as it should. At first, this was a completely foreign chore that made my brain fizzle from reawakening that never-discovered territory (the medulla oblongata?)…

…but, now, I’ve come to realize, this gardening, this growing and waiting and callousness and sore fingertips, is not for the few, but for anyone with a heart for homegrown food, sprinkled with patience.

South Dakota photography

I walked out to the garden yesterday.

It appeared sad and empty, but life is buried beneath the soil.

South Dakota garden

South Dakota photography

Like the blonde-version of me above, I can see the garden full and ripe in my mind, ready to harvest.

South Dakota photography

To pick a fresh tomato for a noon sandwich is one of the greatest joys in life, I’ve found.

South Dakota photography


Sitting inside, pen in hand, the list of vegetables are jotted down on paper. I cultivate my heart to prepare for a year of feeding our bodies well. This is no weak task, and one I do with pride.

The first few years taught me one can plant too much (artichokes), or plant a food you want to like but cannot stand the smell, let alone the taste (rutabagas).

With great intent, I mark down numbers in order and flip to the next page in the catalog. It’s a big list, again, but more precise to what we will eat and how it  efficiently it will be prepared.

We still have months until the gardening begins.

Patience, be mine.

South Dakota garden


76 thoughts on “A Gardener’s Patience

  1. My family had a garden when I was growing up and I had to help weed it–didn’t like that job! But now I want a garden again…does that mean I’m finally maturing? One can only hope. Love your blog posts and your pics.

    • Not too much. It’s been a pleasantly unusual winter. Most of the snow melted Monday/Tuesday, so it’s just been muddy out. Tobi, a neat freak (she avoids puddles always), walked right into the muddy garden. She just stood there with her paw up, all proper like. It was a mess to clean up!

  2. i know what you are saying, a)patience and b) only plant what you can eat! of course I plant what is pretty too and say it is for the bees!! And look at all that manure just across the fence! you must have a fantastic compost heap! c

  3. Oh, I love gardening — and your post makes me miss it so much! (I’ve traveling a lot this year, AND my entire yard is in the shade) … but I’m living vicariously through your planting!
    What a great plot .. keep us informed all along the way!! (p.s. my daughter in college wants a yorkie … should I let her get one??)

    • And I am living vicariously through your travels! Win-win! 🙂 I will be sure to keep you informed of the gardening.

      My husband gave Tobi to me during my last year in college… loved it! Such a great schedule to potty train and opportunity to teach them to shadow you. Tobi definitely is mine (sitting at my feet as I type).

  4. Lovely post and love your writing! I’m itchin’ (or in proper Texan: fixin’) to start my seeds for this year’s garden. I’m also poking Hubby to make another raised bed. I love rutabaga, it’s great in beef stew 🙂

    Happy Planning 🙂

  5. I can totally relate! I’ve been dreaming through my seed catalogs too. My lesson learned is this: no broccoli. A midnight encounter with a slug-covered broccoli that we had just eaten off that day did it for me. Haven’t tried rutabagas though! That was pretty brave of you..

      • Hi, there – love this post 😀

        For the slugs – I used to live up in wet Washington State, and the giant 6 inch banana slugs were like a locust plague. Their smooth, slimy bodies cannot tolerate sharpness, so: Surround the plants with 1. crushed eggshells or 2. hard bark mulch or 3. crunchy hard straw or 4. sharp little gravel chunks or 5. Crushed glass (just joking. That’s probably dangerous and I just made it up)

        It helped my plants anyway, and the locals gave me the heads up on various solutions when I moved out there. There is also something called ‘Slug Bait’, but if anything’s a poison, it won’t go near my foods, no sireeebob.

        Also, it helped me with my gardenless winter doldrums this year to do some indoor gardening: bean sprouts, and micro-greens. You can see more info on my gardening blog, but you’ll have to click this link, not my name:
        Actually, today I just posted the results of my new micro-greens experiments, and how I’ve used them so far…plus on salads, of course.

        Gorgeous blog, and your photos and your writing is really wonderful and inspiring.

  6. I love the simplicity of your words and your images. I live such the opposite life of you – busy all the time, rushing from here and there in the city. I envy the peacefulness you can find there.

  7. It is one of the most important things you can know how to do, especially if you can do it well. I think someday, maybe even soon, we will have to grow our own food if we want to eat healthy. Congratulations for being on the forefront of a great movement and for your patience 🙂

  8. We call those catalogs “seed porn”…..I haven’t figured out the intracacies of growing things in Florida. Summers too hot, winters too dry, but have the urge to try.

  9. Nice post and love the pix. Thank you for taking us into your day dreams. Seeing the garden as it is now and then it’s true potential really brings home the change of seasons, something I miss every once in a while.

  10. When my husband and I first married, we were living in an apartment “in town” but had land in the country. As often as we could we would venture out there and nurture our garden. We did not know how to pace ourselves, though, and were inundated with butternut squash and devoid of green beans. I remember I tried dusting everything with diatomaceous earth, then later read that it should never be drawn into the lungs. It’s amazing how much you can learn over the years about gardening and about marriage. Thank you for that reminder of the necessity for patience while cultivating a love for both.

  11. We are planting seeds in flats today and putting them under grow lights! Can’t wait until spring when they’ll go out into the garden, first in protective frames to harden them off, and them right into the garden!

  12. Believe it or not, we planted spinach, lettuce, kale, and arugula a couple of weeks ago here already. Have my onion sets ready to plant as well, but need to get the garden tilled first. Hard to believe that at least in TX, winter is nearly over.

  13. I love to garden as well. It is a balance, to be sure, of planting what you will eat in the right amounts and then keeping it all going and growing. Still working on it. The hardest part for me is getting the bugs under control… I hate pesticides/fungicides. Slowly, so slowly, I have begun to win the battle of the bug! Using trap crops, beneficials, hand picking, and planting resistant forms to battle disease have all helped in this effort. Hurry along spring!
    ~ Lynda

  14. I finally have a home where I can grow my own garden – my mind is overwhelmed by the choice of vegetables and flowers to plant… I also find myself a bit intimidated by the concept of patience. Strength be with me on that one!

  15. How lovely! Since we’re currently living in an apartment, I’m looking forward to some windowsill gardening when I get up the gumption to try my hand at it. My mother is the natural gardener. I am more comfortable in the kitchen, but I strongly desire my own produce.

    Enjoy all those yummy veggies when they are ready!

  16. I’m just getting started blogging and trying to learn the ropes. I hope to put a photo on my header soon of our place…….similar to yours. That will be when I learn how. You have some beautiful photos and what a beautiful place! Enjoying your blog!

  17. You look beautiful in that picture! And what an amazing garden you have. Now I’m ready for spring, too. 🙂 Only at our house, we’re lucky if we can manage to keep one tomato away from the animals. We don’t live in the country, but we have squirrels, deer, wild turkeys, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks, bunnies, bats… you know… I guess this is the country! What a fun post.

  18. We have had an unusually warm winter in Missouri as well. Makes me want to order seeds and drag the cold frame out and get started on plants! Spring is starting to take over my thoughts!

  19. I so wish I had the patience to garden. I seem to not any of my grandmothers good traits. She had a huge garden with the most wonderful tomatoes! Oh yes a real tomatoe sandwhich is heavenly. And corn oh how I loved her corn. Not those stupid horrible rutabegas though. My mom used to cook those all the time and trick us into thinking they were good. They tasted like dirty boiled water. I see my beautiful cow, give her hugs from me! 🙂

  20. I’m in search of both patience and insight when it comes to garden things, this year especially–on the heels of last year’s drought and heading toward what I suspect will be another dry, hot summer, I’m struggling to figure out what I can plant and when. It’s already warm enough for seeds here, but then mid to late February is when this region often gets its real jolt of ice storm or a dash of snow, so maybe I should wait . . . .

    Growing any quantity of drought-proof food is probably not doable enough for this Texas newbie when the only things that are fairly predictable at this point are that the soil will remain hard, sticky clay no matter what the weather and the temperature extremes will be, well, extreme. Guess I’ll have to go with the flow! I hope your plot has the same glorious success as that mass of beautiful growth in your first photo!!

    • Fitting for me to butt in here since I’m also in Texas. Nice bounty, Country Man’s Wife! Kathryningrid is right…it was a nasty drought here. Even here in wetter southeast Texas, where we enjoy tropic-like weather, my garden suffered greatly. It about killed me.

      I’m letting “my people” do the work for me this year (bacteria, fungi, worms, bugs) while I sit back and watch. Several experiments in gardening have already begun. Wish me luck! And happy gardening to you, CMW. 🙂


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