Rewards from Challenging Your Comfort Zone

by Ramona on July 13, 2014

I thought I would do an update to an earlier blog post before this week before conference gets away from me.

I did a post May 30 titled “Challenge Your Comfort Zone”. It was about me challenging my “comfort zone” in gardening. I have never been a gardener and after over 42 years of living in the Sonoran Desert, we now have a little plot of land and with the help of my husband doing the heavy manual labor, I get to see if I can turn my brown thumb to green (my wonderful husband was very skeptical, and rightfully so).

When we challenge our comfort zones, we’ll have what some call “failures“, but I call them learning experiences. Nothing is ever a failure if we learn something from it. It just means we’ve not yet learned what we need to learn to overcome the challenge. So it is with me and gardening. I’m posting some photos of how far this little garden has come since being planted on Memorial Day.




Garden planted Memorial Day.




We’ve had more rain than sunshine to this point, I’m learning as I go, but my small successes make me want to learn more and do more with the garden next year.

Here are some photos taken within the last week. Most things (much to my surprise!) are growing. Some things are doing better than others.



The garden 8 weeks later.





I have decided the pumpkins are going to take over the entire garden. I planted them according to the packaging.

What I learned: they clearly need more room than stated on the packaging.




My very first pumpkin is growing!!!

What I learned: there is pride in something so simply accomplished.





The zucchini are doing pretty well.

What I learned: I think they need more late afternoon sun.





The very first zucchini.

What I learned: it sure is fun to watch flowers turn into food.





The corn was “knee high by the 4th of July” and as of this morning it is past my shoulders.

What I learned: I like growing corn! Also, it needs to be at least 250′ away from the neighbors feed corn to prevent cross pollination.




8 Asparagus roots were planted and all of them grew!

What I learned: Wow! I can grow asparagus! What else have I learned? Patience. It’s two years before any will be able to be harvested for eating.







Rhubarb leaf

Rhubarb. I planted 4 roots; 2 have taken, 2 have not (but maybe there is hope they may spring up next year?) Of the two that came up, this is the biggest with the other being barely out of the ground.

What I learned: Perhaps I planted the other roots too deep or maybe an animal got to them. This is another “patience” plant!





The property came with some grapes. This is “Elmer Swenson”. He was the first grape plant placed on land in SW WI for testing as a replacement cash crop for tobacco. He leafs out well but doesn’t really produce any fruit.

What have I learned? There are others always willing to help and share their knowledge if we just ask. Also, some things just need to be kept because of their heritage and sentimental value.



S1670002 Red pepper. 

What I  learned: they need more sun and having them in a pot makes them easier to move if they aren’t in the correct spot.






One of two tomato plants in pots on the back porch. I planted the pepper plants and tomatoes in pots first to see how they would do in large pots, and second because I ran out of garden space without digging up more land.

What have I learned? I learned that plants in pots need a lot more water and that the tomato gets a funny little bruise if it doesn’t get enough water while developing.



Blackberry plant

Blackberries. At first I thought these were raspberries until they started turning a deep, dark purple! Silly me!

What I learned: Blackberry thorns are more like rose thorns and also, birds like to grab these as soon as they ripen; not so much with the raspberries.




raspberry bush


What I  learned: Pick them every day, sometimes twice a day. Sometimes simple things like picking raspberries can remind us of loved ones. My Dad and I used to go wild-berry picking.






Raspberries and Blackberries picked early this morning.

What I learned: I can pick several times and freeze them so when I have enough I can make some raspberry jam for holiday gift giving.



Through this gardening journey, I’ve learned other things, too:

  • I learned that getting out for 2-3 hours each day after work makes for a good routine when the weather permits.
  • A weed whacker is my best gardening friend.
  • Organic spray with lemon oil and vanilla keeps those nasty gnats away but bees may check you out when you’ve sprayed it on.
  • Rain sure makes pulling weeds easier.
  • It helps to get into a gardening “routine”.
  • With a little bit done every day, weeds actually can stay in check…well, if the weather permits.
  • A good pair of gardening gloves with Kevlar fingertips is essential.
  • Though flowers are very pretty perhaps the land the previous owners dug for all the flower beds could be put to better use by growing food to share with the local food bank.
  • Sometimes things happen, just do the best you can.
  • And the best one of all? It sure is wonderful when there is a loving husband to till the garden in the spring, sharpen the gardening tools and who will smile when I grab his hand and drag him out into the garden to see what is happening with my little successes!!! 

Now, would I have such joy at such simple things if my friend “C”‘s husband hadn’t said to me, “Just get it in the ground!”

So it should be with sewing. Try a new technique. Do samples. Don’t worry about if it doesn’t turn out the first time, it just means there is something yet to be learned to master the technique. Ask another ASG member for help. Look at the ASG video library; perhaps the steps for the technique are there. And of course, you can always email me and ask me; I’m happy to help!

So now I’m off to work on some clothes for conference. If you are there, please come up and say hello…I’d love to meet you! For those unable to attend, please check the Facebook page often because that is where all the updates will be.

Sew ‘til next time…Enjoy the Journey of Sewing!


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