Sometimes, the most important thing you can do when you are out working in your garden is… take a break.
I think I’ve perfected the art of taking breaks, and it shows in my garden! There are areas that could use a little more attention, be cleaned up a bit more, be better planted.
But I don’t let all that “undone stuff” interfere with my break times!
I believe a gardener should take breaks when needed and then take a few more breaks beyond those because what is the point of gardening to exhaustion, to the point where you wonder if the symptoms you have are the same as heat stroke? If that is the case, maybe you do have heat stroke!
I strive to find a good balance between taking breaks and still getting stuff done in the garden. I don’t know if I’ve found the right balance, but I do find time for breaks.
Sometimes I’ll set little mini-goals for myself and treat myself to a break when I’ve accomplished the goal. “When I’ve filled up this bushel basket twice with weeds, I can take a break and eat a piece of chocolate and drink some iced tea.”
Or maybe if it’s summertime, I’ll eat a few cherry tomatoes, like those ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes pictured above, straight out of the garden for a little break-time snack. (Those ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes are very good, by the way, and will be included in my garden next year.)
Always when I mow the lawn, I take a break between mowing the front lawn and mowing the back lawn. If it’s a nice cool day, I wouldn’t necessarily need the break, but on hot days I absolutely need the break.
It’s all part of my ritual of mowing. I park the mower in the same spot when I’m done with the front, go in and get some iced tea and maybe a little treat to eat, and take a break. Sometimes while on my mowing break, I check Twitter and leave a message about how I’m ‘sweating like an Austin Garden Blogger’. Sometimes I check Plurk or email.
And sometimes, if I’ve thought about something I want to post about while I was out there mowing (because we all know mowing is great thinking time), I’ll use the break to write up a first draft.
Then when I’m cooled down, I go out and finish mowing the back. Oddly enough, after I’ve mowed the back, I don’t always take another break right away. I clean under the deck of the mower and put it away, and then putter around in the garden for a bit before I go back inside and get something to drink.
Always when it is hot outside, and I have to garden for whatever reason, be it giving in to the gardening compulsion or having to do some Important Garden Task That Can’t Wait, I give myself time for plenty of breaks, good long, cool down breaks with lots of water and green iced tea.
Overall, I think I do a pretty good job of taking breaks. I’ve learned over the years that I don’t have to leave it all out there in the garden like an athlete competing in the Olympics. There is time to take it a bit slower, enjoy the actual gardening a bit more and take a few more breaks.
I’ve figured out that learning the art of taking breaks and giving yourself permission to take as many breaks as you need or want is key to being a better gardener!
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being, “I work in the garden until I collapse” to 10 being “oh, we are supposed to garden in between these breaks”, how good are you at the Art of Taking Breaks?