I Wish Somebody Would Have Mentioned…

  • When you prune a hop vine, wear long sleeves. And a ski mask. Those things are mean.
  • There is no such thing as weed free straw.
  • It is possible to have a hard time growing zucchini.
  • It’s not you; everyone had green tomatoes in late August.
  • The best fertilizer is the gardener’s boots.
  • There will come a time when the other best fertilizer is all over your bare feet.
  • Speaking of poop, toddlers gravitate towards manure like a magnet to cast iron. Be alert!
  • 200′ foot long coils of berry wire turn into an impossibly tangled slinky the minute you open the package.
  • Friends are willing to help you garden if you call your get together a Wine and Weed Party. Depending on your day and your friends, you might also call it a Wine, Whine and Weed Party. In either event, supply wine.
  • Children love to pick strawberries that will be ripe in two days. Also blueberries (“Look mom, this is a weird blueberry – it’s half green!”), tomatoes….
  • The tiny size of a broccoli head when it first appears on a full-sized plant is not the final size of the broccoli head. They do grow bigger.
  • However, any time you see a broccoli or cauliflower start in the nursery and it already has a tiny head…I know it looks cute, but that start is already done for.
  • You absolutely, positively, must thin crowded seedlings. They will not grow without room.
  • Except lettuce and spinach and sometimes carrots and leeks. Those you can sometimes not thin.
  • Ok, on second thought, there’s probably not any situation where you absolutely, positively, must do any specific thing.
  • You must never, ever mess with someone’s garden magic! If your friend can grow watermelons in Seattle, do not tell them it’s impossible to grow watermelons in Seattle. Stranger things have happened.
  • Your garden magic will be different from other people’s garden magic.
  • If you decide right now that kale is your favorite vegetable and you would be beyond thrilled to grow a lot of kale you will have a very satisfying gardening career.
  • You will never know how to do it right all the time with all the stuff, so it’s no good trying to stop learning.
  • There will come a point when your homegrown vegetables are so good that you will go to the supermarket and you will start to blurt out, “I wouldn’t feed that crap to my worms!” When that happens, try to keep it in your head. But feel free to smile.
  • $70 Felcos are not for cutting wire, or wood, or for sticking in the dirt to weed dandelions. (I know they have that wire notch and I don’t care.)
  • Gardeners really like to talk about gardening. So if you have a question, you are giving a gift to your more experienced gardener friends to allow them to go on…and on…and on…about whatever it is.
  • You can make your own decisions about what and how and when to fertilize, control weeds, control pests, etc. But give organic soluions a fair try first. You might find less is more.
  • Smart money is always on Sluggo and compost.
  • Every year the weather is always, “just so strange this year.”
  • Harvest the vegetable when the vegetable wants to be picked, not when you want to eat it. Build your cooking around what the garden is giving you today, not what you want to take at at moment.
  • To be an excellent gardener you must have a scuffle hoe, a good garden fork, and a willingness to pretend you are a plant.
  • There is a moment when summer gives in and fall has won. You will feel it when the air is still hot and your shoulders are still bronzed and the beans are on and the calendar still says summer. It will look like summer, but something about the intensity of the light will change, all of a sudden, and you will know in your little squirrel heart that cold times are approaching fast and it is best to gather the nuts. This feeling is epiphanic and never gets old.
  • It’s ok to talk to your garden.
  • It is ok if your garden talks back….like in some spiritual, connected to the land kind of way. I mean, if you actually hear your squash speaking actual words, you’d best see somebody about that.
  • You will get better at this.
  • You will get better at this.
  • You will get better at this.

What do you wish someone had mentioned to you?

Frugal Friday: The Budgeting Process And Advanced Fun Card Techniques
A Time And Motion Study Of Strawberries

Comments

  1. These are great! I'm glad I'm not the only one that's noticed the change in the angle of the sun that is greating Autumn.

  2. sharon Miro says:

    Just love this post. It IS all a process.

  3. Just remember to enjoy the process – and take time to sit back and smell the squash blossoms :)

  4. I LOVE this post, Erica. Thank you for making me smile… And, if you will allow me: Never incorporate raspberries to your vegetable patch. No matter how efficient you think you will be at keeping them under control, they WILL take over.

  5. Love this, Erica! Wish I'd known a while back that even professional farmers today lose ENTIRE crops to pests, disease, etc. Their entire crops are waaaay bigger than mine, so when I lose my 4 x 6 bed of cauliflower to swarms of aphids, it's helpful to know that sometimes there truly is just nothing you can do about it, whether you're a home gardener or farming 100s of acres.

  6. Great list – I nodded my way through the whole thing. I really wish someone would have told me that I would screw things up over and over again – new things, old things, things that I thought I'd already gotten figured out – and that it was okay to screw up, because that's how you learn.

  7. This one made me laugh:

    200' foot long coils of berry wire turn into an impossibly tangled slinky the minute you open the package.

    I've totally had that experience!

    This is a great idea:

    Friends are willing to help you garden if you call your get together a Wine and Weed Party. Depending on your day and your friends, you might also call it a Wine, Whine and Weed Party. In either event, supply wine.

    I might get our fence stained with this approach.

    And this is my favorite and the way I try to approach cooking:

    Harvest the vegetable when the vegetable wants to be picked, not when you want to eat it. Build your cooking around what the garden is giving you today, not what you want to take at at moment.

    One more to add:

    I wish I realized last summer that when a shallot starts to flower, don't admire it, pinch it off. My shallot harvest was drastically reduced because it didn't occur to me until it was too late. There is always something to learn. Love your blog!

  8. I love love love this post!! Thank you for putting into words what all of us gardeners feel every year.

  9. I wish someone would have mentioned that I should plant alongside the irrigation ditch and not in the ditch to give the plants more water. My first time gardening ever though lol. This still doesn't make sense to me, wouldn't you get more water in the ditch?

  10. Great list, I like them all, but especially “Harvest the vegetable when the vegetable wants to be picked, not when you want to eat it. Build your cooking around what the garden is giving you today, not what you want to take at at moment.” that is so true.

    I will add one more: if you see a giant curcubit that you should have harvested several days/weeks ago because you just know that it will now be inedible, just leave it to get even bigger and save the seeds from it. I keep picking them and then remembering I should have left it on the vine! This also applies to peas and beans :)

  11. Thanks for these great tips!! I will be digging up all those beautiful raspberries that took over my tomatoes and peppers last year …. and I will be sure to not listen too closely to what my squash plants are saying …

  12. Most other plants aren’t terribly picky about the soil, but radishes MUST be grown in soft, fluffy, recently-turned soil. If it has become even slightly packed, you will get roots that look more like dandelion roots than a radish.

    I used to like seeing robins in my yard, but now that I have a big vegetable garden I assume they’re stealing my worms and chase them away.

  13. I am learning that the pest/ disease/ issue you overcame last year, it won’t be the one that happens again next year, so don’t get cocky and think you got nature all worked out. If it does happen again, it will happen as well as a new one!

    Also, growing produce is not a case of put it in the ground, wait a while, a basket full of perfect, glossy-magazine fresh stuff appears in your backyard. OK, sometimes it might be, but mostly you’ll have trouble shooting, pest management, random mishaps, harvesting queries, processing, possibly preserving, and pretending you love zucchini in every single meal for weeks in a row, to deal with as well.

  14. Thank you for this post, it made me smile. I have been thinking about starting a garden blog but haven’t yet…hmm…will think about it!

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