I caught myself planning for the 2013 season today.

It was a total accident, I swear. I was looking for something to read while I ate my lunch and the Fedco catalog was sitting right there. I remembered that I’d wanted to look at possible shrubs plantings and next thing I knew, I was waving Michael over and saying, “Hey, come look at this great list of companion plants for the apple trees.” Then I began pondering whether it made sense to sketch out a plan of our property to best lay out our goal plantings for the next year.

I know, this all sounds like a very responsible, logical way to garden.

But here’s the thing: I didn’t successfully finish this year.

We started out strong. We set up the little greenhouse that had been in our basement for five years, we started tomato seedlings on time, we built two new beds. We planted, fertilized, watered, and then, inexplicably, gave up.

We let the white flies take over the pumpkins. We didn’t transplant our tomatoes on time and then, once we did, we let them turn into a useless tomato jungle. We let the chickens get to the carrots. We let the spinach bolt, the beets pop out of the ground, and the beans get bean-y. The half-hearted trellising system we concocted for the snap peas dumped most of them in the dirt. We planted some bonus pepper seedlings handed off by a friend too close together. Deer ate the new raspberry bushes and apple trees. We don’t actually know what we did to the potatoes. We just know they didn’t like us very much.

Crop yield?

A few heads of emaciated garlic, enough paste tomatoes for one dinner’s worth of sauce, some grungy snap peas, a few side dishes of green beans, and one-and-a-half pumpkins. (A deer took a few bites out of one of the pumpkins and half of it went moldy before we discovered it.)

I think we were given more produce than we grew. All that time, dirt, and money: wasted.

I guess you could call 2012 a learning experience, but I’m not sure we learned much. Well, we learned that if you give up on the garden, it will give up on you. Which is a predictable yet still sobering outcome, I must say.

Given all this, it is patently absurd that I am spending this much time thinking about 2013, a scant four weeks or so after finally digging up the sad, skeletal remains of 2012. Had I bothered to spend this time a few months ago, things might have turned out very differently.

But then, we are the family who spends quality time talking about the addition we are planning for the back, despite still having plywood countertops and exposed insulation in the kitchen that we use every single day.

Some may call us dreamers, but I prefer to think that we are just really, really dumb.

So…what do you think about an elderberry hedge? And is yarrow or comfrey better for underneath?

I can’t decide either.

Good thing I’ve got some time.

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