Patience is hard, especially when it involves delaying gratification. I get anxious whenever someone brings up that famous experiment–the one where kids can choose between one marshmallow now or two later, and the kids who choose the first option end up failing at life–because I’m pretty sure that as a kid I would have taken that immediate marshmallow. Now, as an adult, I spend a lot of time reminding myself that adults delay gratification.
In the garden, though, delay can cause as many problems as impatience. My Arkansas Little Leaf plants are suddenly festooned with adorable little cucumbers, some over three inches long. That’s still pretty tiny, but they are pickling cucumbers, and 100% of internet and print gardening wisdom warns against leaving your cucumbers on the vine too long (discoloration, bitterness and bad texture are the result). I desperately want to taste one my new cukes and don’t want them to get icky with age. But I also want them to grow to their full potential. Which is more mature: leaving them or picking them? Maybe I’ll wait ’til five inches.