My "I-Can't-Figure-Out-This-Gardening-Thing" Garden

Friday, June 10, 2011
I like to think that I am a fairly decently informed individual. I like to be informed; I like to learn. I generally do a lot of research when I begin a new endeavor. But I have found a topic that has me completely at a loss...I cannot seem to figure it out no matter how hard I try!

I have wanted to have a garden for a few years now, but so many other things have gotten in the way. When we moved last year, I was determined that I'd finally get around to doing a garden. I even bought seeds, and grow pellets and seed starters. I picked up my copy of Square Foot Gardening and read through it, then browsed lots of websites for more ideas. But the whole concept seemed so complex - what to plant, where to plant, what soil, how much water, what kind of fertilizer, what you can and cannot plant next to each other, and (most confusing of all) WHEN to plant - every single seed had different instructions, different sun/soil/water needs, different planting schedule, etc. ARGH!!!!

Needless to say, nothing got planted last year.

HOWEVER - we did discover in about mid-July that the two big red trees in the backyard in front of our garage/shed were not just nice-looking leafy trees, they were actually plum trees - SCORE! :) Unfortunately, by the time we figured this out, the fruit was on and pretty much ripe, and the birds got to it before we could harvest any.

So this year, I was determined again to start a garden. I re-read the gardening book, perused the beginning gardener blogs, bought more seeds, more seed starters and more grow pellets. I even went so far as to get four herb plants in pots in my kitchen window sill...

I even bought the special self-watering pots. It's not a great picture, but even so, you can see that they are not doing well - the cilantro is all but dead. The thyme is barely hanging in there. The rosemary may or may not make it. The only likely survivor right now is the sage...

Anyway, March came and went - no seeds planted. Then April, then May. A little too late to start some of the seeds by then. So I thought, well, I guess I'll just buy the starter plants and plant them. But it's now almost mid-June and we STILL have not gotten around to building any garden boxes. We haven't even come up with a plan. We're not sure where to put the boxes, how we'll water, whether it will get enough sun/shade, etc. I read and read and read and read, and I STILL can't figure this stuff out - seriously, I'm beginning to think I am missing a crucial gardening-comprehension gene in my DNA somewhere.

So for this year, here is the extent of my "garden":

(1) roma tomato plant

(1) early girl tomato plant [back]
(1) pickling cucumber plant [front]
and the herbs (if they survive) and the plum trees (if the birds don't get to them first)

The tomoto and cucumber plants came just as you see them - in the pot, already started, with the attached trellis - for $12 each at Walmart. It may not be the cheapest route, and it's not much for a DIY garden, but at least it's SOMETHING... ;)

Please, if you know of any good resources for teaching "Gardening for Dummies" or "Gardening for the Severely-Garden-Incompetent", let me know!


Amber said...

I worked at a local nursery for ages...just dig in! Some stuff will fail, some will make it. And next year won't be so tough:) The only things that seem to grow at my house are tomatoes, green beans, and squash (crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini). And that's okay, b/c that's usually what we eat! Anyway, once they are in the ground (or pot) and growing, they tend to be pretty hardy.