It’s the height of the harvest season! I’ve been picking ripe tomatoes and cutting fresh flowers to adorn my kitchen table almost every day. I have hot peppers coming out of my ears, and I’ve been blessed with a lush crop of kale.
Funny how this time of year is also when I start to lose that gardening spark. The weather is hotter than ever, so it’s unpleasant to stay outside for too long. But the worst thing about hot-as-heck August is that any failures are final. There’s little time to recoup losses, and it’s too late to plant much of anything substantial. It feels like the end, even though the finish line isn’t anywhere close.
I know I’m not the only one who experiences a mid-season slump. So I did some brainstorming and put together some ideas to help perk you back up. Here’s how to reignite your passion for gardening.
Reigniting the passion
Once you’ve lost the desire to garden, what are you supposed to do?
It happens. You can’t be on full-speed 365 days a year. Gardening is hard work—physically and mentally. Here are a few tips to keep your mojo alive and reignite your passion for gardening:
- Rely on Mother Nature. It’s been several months of daily watering, weeding, and pruning. Let Mother Nature take the reigns (just be sure to check the weather forecast to avoid leaving your garden during a week-long drought) and let your garden survive on rainwater for a week or so.
- Take longer breaks. Use this time to take longer breaks away from your garden. Spend less time examining and checking on things. Sounds odd considering I’m a huge proponent of daily garden walks, but now is the time when most of your plants are mature and capable of handling a little pest damage if left alone. They are stronger than ever before and with some time away you’ll come back with a renewed sense of wonder at what you find.
- Focus on the harvest. Pluck, pick and grab what you can and spend your gardening time preserving and using up what you harvest.
- Plan for next year. Your garden layout is fresh in your mind. You know exactly where everything is and what didn’t quite work, so use that know-how to plan for next year. Write down lessons you’ve learned and think about what needs to change (or stay the same) for next year. Is there something you didn’t plant that you should have? Did you start something too early? Too late? Which plants were infested with pests? Find ways to avoid that for next year and write it all down while it’s at the forefront of your brain.
- Do some seed trading. Take inventory of your seed stock. What do you need to top off for next year? Chat with your gardening friends and do some swapping by mail.
I get it. This time of year is tiresome. Seeds have sprouted and the magic has sort of lost its spark a bit. It’s ultra-hot and with a pandemic still going on, there’s anxiety and stress about what’s to come. September no longer seems like a fresh start ahead, which makes this gardening moment all the more anxiety-producing.
You’ve got this. Let the failures go. Embrace your accomplishments and look ahead to next year. Soon you’ll be cleaning it all up and closing up shop for the winter.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.