Garden Harvest: How Much Is Enough?

| 7/26/2010 9:37:00 AM

Tags: Gardening, Harvest,

A photo of Shannon SaiaSummer is a time of giving.

Sharing the bounty is one of my favorite things about a garden – not because of zucchini-fatigue or because I can’t possibly eat all of that watermelon – but because I have something to give. Giving from the garden is giving of oneself. When you give from a garden you give from a position of plenty. And really feeling and living in and from plenty is not always so easy to do.

How do we know when we have enough? How do we know when we have plenty?

Enough implies measurement. It suggests that you have an amount or a level in mind and that you meet that amount or level. Enough is having the right amount of dollars to pay your rent or your mortgage. Enough is rigid and non-negotiable. It contains an element of fear. You have enough – or you don’t.

But plenty suggests that you have nothing to fear. It is a bounty that is beyond measurement; with plenty, measurement is not needed.

The question occurs to me: Can you have plenty while not having enough?

Nebraska Dave
7/29/2010 4:38:03 PM

@Drew, my comment here was strictly about my gardening experiences. I'm with Shannon, they were not intended to make you feel in any way that you should not be looking at the accomplishments of your labor. Your garden is totally different than mine. I quite frankly was amazed at all the preservation that you have done for this year and it's only half over. There are times when I have to stop and reflect on the things that I've accomplished to encourage myself that it's all worth it. I think you went through one of those times and needed to take account to stay encouraged. My meger preservation attempts are only to satisfy the challange of it all within me and to keep me busy in my retirement years. To be honest you are quite an inspiration to me just to be able to read about all the things you do. Your video blogs refected your joy about living life and infected me with that same joy every time I watched one. I know this is a busy time of the year but I for one hope that when the year begins to wind down you will be able to make more of them.

S.M.R. Saia
7/28/2010 5:36:04 PM

Thank you all so much for coming by and for reading, and for your kind words. I really appreciate it. I'm glad that you liked this post. @Drew - Coincidentally, you just did a post tallying what your family has been able to accomplish so far this season, and I hope that you don't think that this post was in any way a response to that, because it wasn't. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now, since returning from vacation, which is one of the reasons that it's been so long since I've posted anything here. I had some trouble working out my thoughts. I have nothing but respect and admiration for everything that you've done this season, and you're an inspiration to me. I am freezing squash and beans, and putting up tomatoes, and dehydrating peppers around here like crazy; my thoughts on not counting and on thier relationship to the idea of plenty were written as much to myself as to anyone who might read it, as I continue to struggle to develop a philosophical disposition that I can live with. The garden has been a wonderful teacher in this regard. I think counting smiles is a GREAT idea.

Cindy Murphy
7/28/2010 9:59:47 AM

Shannon, I always enjoy your posts, but this one, along with your ill-fated eggplant love affair, tops the list. It made me take a moment or two to take stock of my own gardens. Serious vegetable gardeners would cringe at the way I garden. The only thing under control in my vegetable garden are the weeds - yes, I am one of those deranged individuals who loves to weed. My ornamental gardens receive much more of my time and labor, but still some, I'm sure, would consider them only a semi-controlled chaos; I tend to like it that way. Gardens of any variety provide us with removal of the world's intensity for the period of time we spend in them. The pleasure I get - and others get - from my gardens cannot be calculated in tangible measurements. I know though, that it is plenty. And that is enough.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!