Please excuse the long post as we share a few of our gardening mishaps! Let’s start with Niki.
Niki says: What? Me make garden blunders? Never! OK, occasionally. OK, often, but in my defense, it’s how I do my best learning. The truth is that I’ve made some doozies over the years and though I may look back fondly on them now, at the time, they weren’t so funny.
Let’s see… should I focus on the fact that I planted my very first vegetable garden in the shade? Brilliant, eh? It was under the protective branches of a mature maple tree and although we only harvested one measly cherry tomato, we did have a bumper crop of mid-summer greens that seemed to appreciate the respite from the heat.
Or, should I share my former naiveté with generous self seeders like borage and chamomile, which threatened to take over my 2,000-square-foot veggie garden one spring. Admittedly, it was my fault for allowing just a few plants to go to seed, but as the snow retreated in April, the exposed soil was carpeted with thousands of ‘babies’. I pulled and pulled, eventually leaving just a few clumps to keep the beneficial insects and pollinators happy.
I think my favourite blunder, however, was the year I decided to jazz up my newly planted perennial garden with some nasturtiums. The young plants were so small and a few clumps of nasturtiums would add welcome colour. Couldn’t hurt, right? Wrong!! I accidentally planted vining types of nasturtiums, four packets in total. That is over 100 vining nasturtium plants in a 20 by 5 foot garden. After all the perennial-smothering vines were finally torn from the garden in late July, I ended up with a pile of nasturtiums that was 6 feet wide by 6 feet long by 5 1/2 feet tall. Thankfully, I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of gal and decided that all those vines made for an exceptional composting opportunity.
Tara says: The blunders that are most top of mind for me are the ones from last year. But I think perhaps someone could learn from my unintentional mishaps, so I’m not ashamed to share them here. (As long as you promise not to judge!)
Two and a half years ago, we moved into our house in the fall. I felt like the previous owner did a great job of cleaning up the yard and pruning, so come spring, everything was ready to go. But that meant that in the early fall, I didn’t even think about trimming the seed pods off my rose of Sharons (I’d never had one before and with this house, I have five). Last spring, there were wee little seedlings EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t figure out what they were until I realized they were only around the rose of Sharons. I could start a rose of Sharon nursery. Lesson learned! My husband made sure to lop off all those suckers this past fall so it doesn’t happen again.
Secondly, similar to Jessica, I decided to get all creative last spring and weave my own trellis from what I’m guessing were willow sticks that I had in my shed (I had bought them at IKEA for a décor assignment for a magazine years ago). So I wove them all together, secured the ends with twine and admired my handiwork. Then my sugar snap peas far exceeded my expectations. Not only was my trellis too short, one side ended up falling over from the weight! Clearly those sticks should have stuck to their decorative roles.
I also have some plants that need some serious pruning (a couple are downright embarrassing) and a couple of yuccas that I’ll need a chainsaw to divide. But I’ll save those for another post…
Jessica says: I make lots of mistakes. Seriously. Probably more than anyone else you know. I’m good for at least a baker’s dozen every day, making me about as far from a Type A personality as a person can get. The good news is that, unlike making a left turn from the right lane, gardening mistakes are no big deal. They’re nothing more than an “educational experience”, right? Plants are forgiving. Insurance companies are not.
And so, I present to you a few of the more humorous gardening blunders I’ve committed over the years. Learn from them, my friends. For while they won’t drive your insurance rates up, avoiding them will save you time, money, and headaches.
* One year I got all fancy and decided to build a row of pea brush. You know, one of those wattle-like trellising systems built from branched twigs inserted into the soil? I made a whole 20-foot row of it. It took me three days to harvest the branches and weave them together. When it was finally complete, it was about three-feet tall, perfect for supporting spring shell peas. Except that I accidentally planted eight-foot tall snap peas there instead.
* Then there was the time I had the brilliant idea to put a handful of bone meal into every hole as I was planting 225 tulip bulbs. Later that afternoon, I found all the bulbs scattered across the lawn. And my dog’s face completely covered in mud.
* Oh, and let’s not forget what the United States Postal Service had to say about the time I planted a sweet autumn clematis at the base of our mailbox. I got a letter in the mail (imagine that!) stating that I had to remove the offending plant because it was “infested with bees” and posing a threat to the mail carrier.
And so now I make a promise. A promise to make 2014 my first mistake-free gardening season ever. I’m done making mistakes. Everything will be perfect this year. I swear.
I’ll see y’all later. I’m headed out to plant a new wisteria. I think it’s gonna look great growing up my downspout.
We could go on and on, but we don’t want to bore you (read: embarrass ourselves) any more. Even people who have been gardening their whole lives still make plenty of mistakes! Take the pressure off – think of the garden as one big experiment and don’t sweat the mistakes.