Saturday, May 1, 2010

10 ways to kill your garden before it's really started

Gardening and I just don't get along this spring.

I can do the right things. Start my seeds. Add my mulch. Prop it up with poop. And it doesn't matter. These poor plants are croaking.

This year, I'm like the teacher who can't cut it in the real world.

So here you are, folks, 10 ways to kill your garden before it's even really started:
  1. Start your seeds indoors. Let your children assist with seed starting - and they thin the few seedlings that were actually growing in their enthusiasm to touch the plants.
  2. Think you're doing OK because they're a window in the room and they're growing like crazy, but don't give the plants quite enough light, so they wind up too spindly, flop over and can't cut it when they reach the actual outdoors.
  3. Opt to start second batch of seeds in same peat pellets outdoors in natural light. Let the plants stay outside when you get an inch of rainfall. Realize days later there's no drainage in the peat pellet tray.
  4. Salvage the third of the plants that survived the flood, sticking them into egg cartons and leaving them outside. Forget they're there. Remember they need watering about a week later.
  5. A few of the plants are surviving. Repot them in a larger pot to allow for root growth. Toddler going a million miles a minute plows right on top of them, breaking the pot and plants inside, in his enthusiasm to run to the trike.
  6. Attempt to plant seeds in the garden (the way nature intended). Get a few things in, spend more time chasing kids, and lose a good chunk of your onion sets to the whims of a 4 year old.
  7. Realize the seed thing just isn't going to happen for you this year. Get excited about plants at farmers market. Go crazy. Make the tomato lady very happy. Plant them all. Accidentally take out carrots and radishes that you'd planted - thinking they were weeds - in the process.
  8. Hear about a heavy frost advisory. Bring poor peat pellets inside. Forget about the $20 worth of heirloom tomatoes and the cinnamon basil planted in the garden. Find them withered, shriveled and brown, leaves dry and crisp, the next afternoon.
  9. Come home and find that the wind has blown peat pellets and wimpy plants all over your driveway, squishing half of what's left.
  10. Attempt to save poor squished plants. Pick them up and gently carry them to the garden. Plant them. Get motivated and take the few small squashes in the pot to the garden to divide and give them room. Rip the roots off in the process.

So here I am. May 1. Literally months into my growing season. $60 or so poorer. And nothing but a half-cup of radishes to show for my efforts. But I'm willing to go another round. If not you'll catch me at the farmers market again soon.

1 comment:

Rosa said...

My son "helped" in the garden by shoveling up a third of my broccoli raab starts in one scoop.

This is why so many gardeners start way too many seeds - but for most of us, it ends better. If you ask around, I bet you know people with homeless seedlings who would be glad to unload them.

I hear eventually the kids become an asset in the garden, so have hope!