Last year, I came across this article about “passion” and its connotations in the worlds of careers and hobbies. It got me thinking about the Farm and how it has changed from a “passionate dream” to a solid plan, on its way to reality. In this 9-part series, I’ll take the key paragraph from each of the seven P’s in the article and expound on it as it relates to the Farm.
Although it might sound odd, perseverance is as much about putting in effort as it is battling ego. Drunk on passion masters are doomed to repeat failures in the name of “pushing through.” In contrast, students do more than hone their craft; they learn from their mistakes.
Failure is discouraging. I tried for a couple of years to grow sweet corn, and they never got more than eight inches tall before keeling over, so I quit trying. Also around that time, I started hearing and reading that sweet corn is nutritionally worthless. Until this past year, I thought this nutrient deficit applied to all types of corn; then I attended a homesteading summit and one of the sessions was all about corn. I learned that flour, dent, pop, and flint corns are nutrient-rich, and that they’re quite different from sweet corn.
So I created a better space for trying to grow corn. I felt uncertain going into this growing season with two types of corn (a flour corn and a popcorn). I wasn’t confident that they’d grow. But I’m tried it again, and despite my anxiety, I was pretty excited about it. They grew well, up until I forgot to water them regularly, so I didn’t get any good-sized ears of corn, but I got some small ones!
Another lesson learned the hard way: don’t use string trellises for beans. They’re fine for peas, squash, and tomatoes, but beans twine too tightly around the strings to separate them when autumn cleanup rolls around. And those strings take FOREVER to decompose in the compost… But I’m not going to give up growing beans because of it – I’m just going to use a different trellising solution!