Calgary Gardening - Insanity or Journey?

I’m busy this weekend with my tomato seedlings and dreaming about juicy red tomatoes in September. 

Gardening in Calgary is a crazy challenge. We live in a semi-arid climate and we often have brown grass by mid-August from a lack of rain. So we water...lots. We have quite wet and cold starts to the season and thick clay soils. So we amend our soil and hope things don't drown. Our last and first frosts are very close together giving us about 100 days of frost free growing. So we spend plenty of nights running around covering our plants to protect them. And don’t forget the hail in July. What hasn’t died by mid-season, might just end up as chopped salad with dirt dressing. So we get pummeled with hail while we try to save things or we come home after a day at work and weep at the loss.

Gardening would seem completely futile here. It would seem like a waste of time to get to the end of the season and harvest only 10 tomatoes after all that effort. I have felt exactly like that. I stopped gardening for a few years because of the frustration and disappointment.

Until…I realized it wasn’t about the 10 tomatoes. 

I never tire of the surprise that comes when seeds germinate. I love the smell of earth. I enjoy the time spent outdoors weeding, nurturing, watering, and watching. I relish the taste of anything (that actually manages to survive) from my garden. 

It is not about the destination. It is about the journey.

If I focus on the bushels of produce that should have been, could have been, I would not garden here. But I have learned that I enjoy the journey of gardening and that it makes no difference if things survive or not.

As I spend my weekend up to my elbows in soil re-potting my tomato seedlings, I think about how many other places in my life I have focused too hard on the destination and not the journey.

It was not about the title after the promotion.

It was not about the university my son got into.

It was not about more stuff.


Those were all destinations. And when I focused only there, I often suffered disappointment.


It was about the self-improvement and personal growth it took to create success.

It was about the hours I spent with my son supporting him on his own journey.

It was about being grateful for what I already had.


I will plant my tomatoes and I will enjoy the journey so much that the destination doesn’t matter.


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