Monday, March 6, 2023

So what’s the point of this blog?

My name is Stephen L. Thompson.  I grew up on a small farm in northwestern Pennsylvania.  After college, I moved away for work, but in 2011 I moved back.  Part of it was to help my parents around the house and farm, but also because living with my parents is cheap.  Instead of working five days a week, I can only work two to pay for car insurance and Netflix, and hopefully spend the rest of the week writing.  If you’re interested, you can learn more about my writing on one of my other blogs.

We’ve always had a garden, growing the basics: potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.  And I’ve always figured myself as more of a gardener than a farmer.  When I first moved back, my dad and I mostly split the work in the garden, but over the last few years I’ve taken over more and more until I basically do all the planting and harvesting.  He still runs the rototiller through on occasion, and hauls water for it when it’s dry, but it’s pretty much become my garden.

To learn new tricks, I’ve started following several gardening YouTubers.  Probably the biggest influence for me being RED Gardens.  The main reason being they track all the work that goes into their gardens as well as all the produce they get.  I found that interesting.  The closest to that we’ve done is each year my mom keeps a list of how much stuff she cans.  But that was mostly to just be able to say she canned 150 jars, or whatever, that year.  We never even tracked when we planted stuff.  It had always been whenever the ground was ready, and we had the time, we planted, and we harvested whenever stuff was ready.

But as I took over the gardening, and from watching a bunch of YouTube videos of gardeners talking about how many pounds/kilos of stuff they grew, I started wondering how much food we actually grew on the farm each year.  There’s the garden, but also apple trees, and blueberries and blackberries, and eggs from our chickens.  For the last couple of years, I’ve started keeping some track.  Mostly it’s when I planted stuff and when I first harvested them.  Last year I also counted how many zucchinis I picked: 128.  Somewhere along the way, I got the idea of starting a blog about what we produced on the farm.  (I’m better with words than talking, so a blog is more my style than a YouTube channel.)  I think the ultimate goal is to have short posts along the lines of, “I picked the first raspberries today,” and the post would just have a picture of three raspberries in my hand with the caption “They were delicious.” These would be between weekly tally posts of, “I picked ten zucchini, six tomatoes, got 29 eggs, and pulled some potatoes for supper one night.” I’d also do special posts on how I compost, or have recipes, or whatever I can think of.  The point of this blog would be to let people know what can be done with a garden, and to hopefully connect and learn from other gardeners.

That’s the ultimate goal of this blog.  But, as I’ve found out for the last couple of years, I don’t know how to organize everything to make it … coherent, useful, good.  So that’s my 2023 plan for this blog.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned from my organizational failings, to have a new – hopefully better – system to try this year.  If everything goes okay, then in 2024 I’ll try the weekly updates of what we grow.  Or maybe 2025.  We’ll see.