This was our first year gardening, not just in Tennessee, but in general. Back when we were living in California, I asked my husband to pull the hedges in front of our condo so I could plant some edible plants for the kids. It was very small scale and most things ended up dying. Last year, we moved to Tennessee and I was finally able to have the garden of my dreams. My husband tilled and fenced a 45×50 ft space on our yard, and we got to work.

Initially, I was really excited and eager to start planting, but I quickly became overwhelmed. While I loved our big garden, a big garden meant more to take care of. Animals, young kids, homeschooling, housekeeping, from scratch cooking…It seemed like there was a lot I had to do, but not enough time. I became resentful of my kids, especially my toddler. She managed to wreak havoc every time I tried to weed or plant seeds. The garden was quickly becoming a sore subject for me, so I knew I had to do something. I decided to just let go of all expectations and remember why I started my garden in the first place.

Once I let go of all expectations, our garden became a source of excitement again. Most importantly, once I remembered my why, it gave me a reason to keep going. My why now, is the same as it was those years ago when I asked my husband to pull out the hedges: I want our kids to be deeply connected to their food. I want them to see the work it takes to go from a seed, to a beautiful salad on the table. I want them to see first hand how we celebrate successes and how we try to troubleshoot failures. So, while harlequin beetles may have decimated our brassicas and blight may have led us to an early potato harvest, we take a note of what we can improve on for next year and keep going. Because, even though we’ve had our share of failures in the garden this year, we’ve had many delicious successes.