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The Uncompromising Power of “Next Year”

The chickens don’t start squawking until 6:15 am.  It was 5 am in June.

Each and every time I walk in to their gated yard, I walk through at least one spider web.  And I shudder inside and die a tiny death.

Most nights, we close the windows to sleep, and it feels good to get under the covers…as opposed to torture.

Yep, fall is coming.

We had a very hot summer this year, and the turning weather is a relief.  There is however, the “garden problem”.   There is still so much growing to do, tomatoes to ripen, and cucumbers to pickle.

Now is also the time of year that I walk around our tiny micro farm and think “ah hell, I should have done x” this year.  Planted earlier, planted more, planted something different, or not grown an item at all.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  The second guessing can be productive; if you actually make notes and refer to those notes next year.  But it can also take away from the amazing work and process that actually happened this year.

But one thing the garden reflection will always do, is give you hope for next year.  Maybe your growing season was terrible this year.  The weather stunk, there was no rain, or a plague of locust devoured your prized carrot crop.  No matter the issue, you always can default to “well there is always next year”.

Next year is a mythical beast.  The time when you finally get it right.  The year that everything is perfect, and your garden is the prize of the neighborhood.

Next year is hope.

Even if you don’t garden, the concept of “there is always next year” allows you to give yourself the grace that this year things might have gotten a bit out of whack, but by golly, next year you’re totally nailing this thing called life.

This year, I planted my tomatoes too closely together.  But not nearly enough plants.


Next year?  I’ll choose the perfect amount.

This year, the morning glory vines took over my beloved raspberry patch, and decimated the crop



Next year?  I’m ripping everything out, digging deep down in to the dirt to remove every single morning glory root cell, and starting over.  The morning glory won the battle this year.  But next year, I win the war.

This year, the heat dried out blueberries on some of my best plants, before I even had time to pick them.


Next year?  I’ll be diligent about watering during extended heat.  And I’ll mulch more heavily.

This year, I planted seeds for fall much later than I probably should have.  This time of year, the neighbors huge stupid cedar tree blocks the afternoon sun for a few hours in the afternoon.  The boxes where I plant my fall stuff is right in that pathway, and is always stunted as a result.


Next year?  I’ll be Johnny on the freaking spot and get things planted during the best possible timeline for success.

This year, my original 25 strawberry plants went so nuts, that many strawberries went to waste.  I simply couldn’t keep up with them.


Next year? Strawberry party with the neighbors.  Plus, I’ll be home more and hopefully crushing it on strawberry picking.

We’re not perfect.  Gardening isn’t perfect.  Life isn’t perfect.  We don’t always get it right.  But getting it right is what’s going to happen next year…


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7 comments on “The Uncompromising Power of “Next Year””

  1. Yes, I do the same with my little garden….. and then I go nuts buying seedlings at the market – so many that I don’t know where to plant them all and they just get squished in next to each other, sort of ‘survival of the fittest’!! One thing I’ve done with our strawberries – when we haven’t eaten them all(!!!) is to slice them up very thinly and put them on lined baking trays and dehydrate them in the oven – when they’re dry and cool, I pop them into a jar and can then add them into oatmeal, or muffins, or cakes, or wherever dry fruit can be added! I’ve done the same with shallots and will be experimenting with others.

  2. I was walking through my garden having this exact conversation with myself in my head last night! Each year is a little different, and never a guarantee. In some ways, that’s what is so satisfying to me about self-sufficiency. You make do with what you got this year. That teaches us resilience, creativity, and self-denial. All good lessons to be practicing in our instantly gratifying society. Although the whining of children over their “tiredness of ‘enter bumper crop fruit name here’ jam” come March can definitely grate on a person. 🙂

  3. There are so many things I’m going to do just right….next year 😉 I couldn’t stop looking at the rusty little travel trailer across the street & wondering if there is a funny story that goes along with that, if so please share…hahaha 😀

    • Oh how I wish there were a funny story behind that trailer. It’s not actually a traveler trailer…someone lives there. And has lived there since well before 1988 (when my parent’s bought the house). It’s a disgusting death zone with all the siding falling off the back and I can only assume a miserable and dangerous interior. He is the owner of the crappy cedar tree that blocks my garden.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My garden was a disaster this year and I had forgotten the “hope” part. I am actually going to put your blog post on FB for my gardening friends because, sometimes we just get lost in the failures and flaws and . . . this is soooo uplifting.

  5. I LOVE your philosophy!!! It sure takes the stress out of life.