…And Meanwhile in the Garden…

Life as a writer, writing at home, is a mix. We write, we do housework, we write, we take care of kids, we write, we cook, we write, we do laundry, we write, we garden. There are a million variations, depending on your own personal style, where you live, how many children of what ages you have at what stages in life, not to mention how much of a slave to schedule you are.

For me, one of my distractions and demands is my garden, specifically my vegetable garden. But it’s also an inspiration. And as I wrote those 20,000 words in the month of May, the garden was having it’s own blogathon, if you will.  Here in Maine, summer is short: it arrives suddenly all in one day in May. And it leaves just as quickly in August. With a short growing season, every day in the garden is precious. And if the rain (or a blogathon) slows you down from planting, you may never get a ripe tomato or a crop of beans. 

The turnips are just coming up this morning!

This year we seemed to time it well, with the “greens” going in middle-of-May; followed by tomatoes and potatoes late May; finally last weekend we planted turnips, beans, beets, and a few others. It was in a rush before a rainstorm so we didn’t even have time to mark the rows! We were sure the seeds had been washed away (we fear this every year!) But sure enough, this morning, there are the turnips: beginning to pop up. 

And now the garden is beginning to look like the familiar quilt of green and brown.

Do you keep a vegetable garden? What are your distractions and demand from your writing schedule?



  1. Cynthia Robertson says:

    That’s one of the BIG things I miss about living up North: AZ is just too damn hot and the ground is too hard to grow a decent vegie garden. Your photos make me jealous!

  2. CMSmith says:

    Your garden looks terrific. My husband Mark grows vegetables. I hope you have a bountiful harvest.

  3. There’s nothing like sticking your hands in the earth to connect you to the here and now. Gardening has its own plot! (writer pun)

  4. Liz says:

    This year I opted for 2 big pots – 1 tomato plant in each. We’ll see how it goes.

  5. My hubby and I have decided to do a garden next year…..it’s too late & hot for Florida now. My immediate distraction is playing with the grand babies while I visit them. The main distraction for my cooking blog is…..cooking!

  6. Your garden looks so good! Sounds like it’s a good life there…

    I have herbs in pots on our front porch and a lemon tree on the back deck. I just got a little cherry tree and have to plant in a pot on the back deck.

    Still raining here too, so that’s good for my pot gardens.


  7. Leah says:

    We have some tomatoes and peppers growing. We’re going to attempt a pumpkin soon. But the garden is really my husband’s project. You wanna know what distracts me from writing? Reading all these awesome blogs!

  8. Cynthia, sorry about the AZ gardening issues… wish I could ship you veggies in exchange for e-weeding 🙂 but instead, you’ll just have to watch the progress on my blog!

    Christine, Here’s to a bountiful harvest all around! Come fall, we can have a blog-harvest-feast!

    M.L. I LOVE that pun… gardening has its own plot… hahaha. You have to be careful of giving this blogger any encouragement for a new blog topic, though. I could run with that one! 🙂 Thanks for the visit and the comment!

    Liz, I’ll look forward to hearing about your potted tomato plants! I’ve grown them that way before and they can produce a LOT of tomatoes!! I bet your girls will love it!

    cookinghealthy, grandbabies sound like a wonderful distraction!! heat definitely slows my gardening enjoyment down, too, and come mid-July, my garden will show it!

  9. purplekangaroos, thanks for the garden compliment! hope I can keep up with the weeds and such! I love potted herbs — and a lemon tree and cherry tree sound LOVELY! The rain sounds nice too. Us? Tornado watch, UGH!

    Leah, We’ll be planting peppers too; pumpkins should do so well in San Diego. Sophie will LOVE them! As for reading the blogs being a distraction? I know what you mean….sooo distracting! And Twitter too!

  10. Coming East says:

    We used to have a beautiful vegetable garden when we lived in Connecticut, but nothing would grow in Texas, it was so dry and hot. I tried growing tomatoes there once and estimated that the three tomatoes I harvested cost me approximately $30 dollars each. Now we live in Virginia where a garden would grow so well and I have plenty of time to tend it, but we live in a townhouse with a small courtyard with no room for a garden. Sigh!

  11. Coming East, Have you heard of the book: The $64 Dollar Tomato? Your comment reminds me of that! Sorry you don’t have room for a garden — have you thought of container gardening?

  12. Your garden looks lovely! I unfortunately don’t have much of a green thumb (I’m sure I’d kill a cactus) but my distractions include spending time with my dog, reading, indulging in TV and until recently, dance. Dance has always been a huge part of my life and since I moved to Austin and haven’t been able to find a studio close enough to my home, it’s been missed! But I’m planning to start up again in a couple of months, so I’m excited to see what blooms from that!

  13. Natalia, Thanks! That’s hilarious about the cactus….just so you know, I’m really really bad at keeping houseplants alive too–so weird! Sounds like dance is a huge part of who you are, so I’m glad it will be a part of your life again soon. As you say, who knows what will bloom from that!? I’ll look forward to reading about it in your blog!

  14. Believe it or not, sometimes I think blogging can be a distraction…

  15. journey, I so believe (and agree with) you that blogging can be a distraction!! HUGE distraction from what I really should (and want to) be doing…. if you have time, I’d love for you to read my post the day before the gardening one, called “80,000 words):


    I’d love to know if you agree!

    Cheers, Julia

  16. We kept a giant vegetable garden (and strawberries) when I was growing up in PA. In fact, my mom just e-mailed to say that they are having some luck, despite the inordinate amount of rain they’re getting.

    I have tried desert gardening, but failed miserably both times. The seasons are different, the critters are greater, the soil more difficult, the need for raised bed/mulches and mix, the sun more relentless … the frustration intensified. I do want to try it again, but after planting a little garden in a box (on wheels so I could move it out of the sun), I will take a break. My cherry tomatoes were coming along nicely until someone snatched them from me the day I was going to pick them. I later found out it was our rock squirrel, when I found him with one in his little paws. Then these tiny little birds got a hoot out of pecking tiny holes into the tomatoes – small enough to be nearly undetectable, but enough to wither each veggie. And THEN (still a mystery), something gnawed the bottoms of the stalks of my pepper plants so that they collapsed like felled trees (yes, I lost my peppers in a course of two days).

    I’ll stick to ornamental flowering plants until I can brave it again!

  17. Bella says:

    I live in a walk-up, so I don’t even have a garden. However, that doesn’t prevent me from peering over my balcony and sighing over the beautiful flowers and plants that grow in my neighbors’ gardens. I get my fix when I walk around the neighborhood and admire the lovely hanging baskets, flowering shrubs and fruit trees. The other day I was mesmerized by a small olive tree one of the neighbors was planting. Sigh.

  18. Melissa, The strawberries sound lovely in PA — glad your parents can still garden despite the rain, too! I can only imagine how much of a challenge desert gardening must be. Even though I would’ve been mad about the squirrel taking the tomatoes, HOW CUTE it must’ve been. One year our golden retriever ate EVERY SINGLE green pepper and many of the tomatoes in our garden. Not quite as exciting as your wildlife, but animals can be a great annoyance in the garden!

    Bella, Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! Your description of peering over the balcony to see neighbors’ gardens sounds lovely! I love olive trees from my childhood in California — they’re beautiful! — but they would never survive a Maine winter! Thanks again for your comment!

  19. E.J. Wesley says:

    Man, I’m going to be eating at your house in a couple of months! All of those fresh veggies …

    I actually stopped by to say ‘thank you’ for your support during my A-Z blogging month. I’ve created a fun “no strings attached” blog award for you and all of the other awesome bloggers who offered feedback and encouragement.

    You can view the award and my thank you note here:

    Hope you are well and that I see you around in the future!


  20. E.J., Thanks so much for the award! Nice thank you blog post, too! I will look forward to more of your posts, and I hope you swing on by here for garden and other updates as the summer progresses! And who knows, maybe I’ll give out a fresh garden veggie to each visitor! Thanks again!

  21. The way you describe the short growing season makes me wonder how folks from times gone by – those who absolutely relied on the food they grew plus some hunting – managed to feed their families every year, esp. if the weather didn’t go their way. It must have been a risky business at times.

    Enjoyed the pictures of your garden. It must be very satisfying to work with the earth and grow things. House plants are my limit, I’m afraid :~)

  22. Milli, I know what you mean about days gone by — we get a lot out of our garden but still…. the grocery store is always handy! On the other hand, it provides more food than my writing does 🙂

  23. There’s that pesky fact again. A gal can earn her bread and butter faster by growing some (so to speak) than by writing for a living. Wah!!