Retirement Changes

Lettuce from my square-foot garden in Hawaii.
Lettuce from my square-foot garden in Hawaii.

Bees buzzed around basil blossoms and passionfruit tendrils. Our little raised bed garden boasted chives, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and green peppers amidst rosemary and thyme. Then we retired and moved to the desert in the valley of the Rocky Mountains. I grieved for all our little plants we had left behind.It was late October and autumn leaves were scattered all around the sidewalks as trees shed their glory.

A week later, the earth and all the plants were white with fluffy snow. We had been living in Polynesia for most of our married life. My husband raised bananas and root crops popular with the islanders in a plot nearby. How would we be able to adjust to a climate with four seasons? We had been spoiled with year round moderate weather, and had concerned ourselves with bolting plants on the hottest days or fighting off occasional insects and blight.

I had cherished every afternoon weeding and nourishing our small backyard garden and then harvested lettuce, green onions, kale, cucumbers, Swiss chard and beetroot for our dinner. It was a very satisfactory way to get exercise and eat healthy. Moving to the desert meant short days and purchasing most of our food.

Cucumbers growing in raised beds in Hawaii.
Cucumbers growing in raised beds in Hawaii.
My husband raising taro in Hawaii.
My husband raising taro in Hawaii.

I was delighted to find that my daughter-in-law had sensed my grief in leaving behind our gardens. She had gotten us a beautiful orchid, aloe vera in a pot, and a small potted banana plant with a new shoot protruding from the soil.

I now find pleasure in keeping my new plants watered and watching them grow inch by inch. We have started a compost pile with the autumn leaves, rabbit maure as well as vegetable and fruit peelings. We look forward to the early spring when we can begin our new garden and educate ourselves about raising crops that are suited to our new climate.

Do you plan on changing growing zones in retirement?

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The USA has been divided into zones according to hardiness by the USDA.


You can go here: http://www.garden.org/zipzone/index.php?img=nwusa

and check your location.

According to our zip code, our new hardiness zone is 6 B. It also gives suggestions of what you can do month to month, which is very helpful. It gives a regional report from the National Gardening Association.

We joined a gardening association and get a helpful magazine each month.

© 2014 Elayne

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Comments 2 comments

LianaK profile image

LianaK 2 years ago

I know you miss the tropical climate. Hope that winter ends soon so that you can start gardening again in your new environment.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

That would indeed be quite a change. We face a move from the city to the country in three years, but it will be the same climate so no changes in gardening.

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