Minor Gardening Disasters

– Posted in: Garden chores, Vegetables, Weather

First it was the windy day that blew a wheelbarrow over on top of my best tomatoes. Not, of course, on my over 200 nicotiana, but on my tallest, biggest tomatoes.

Then there was the night it was supposed to get down to 39 degrees and actually got down as low as at least 34; my dad and brother had to scrape sheets of ice off their windshields.

Then I forgot to bring my basil in until it got down to 55, and I am desperately hoping that was not really cold enough to stunt all 30 plant while they’re the size of my thumb (please, please, please!).

Then I finally planted the 15 pounds of potatoes with my brother–in mud. Or whatever you want to call extremely water-logged clay, which constitutes most of our garden right now. So water-logged, in fact, there is a stream of running water going through it.

Then there was the nasty, brazen little rodent that kept making faces at Teman and me while we planted potatoes and he played in the water.

My solutions have been thus:

(1) Pot on the tomatoes, burying them up past the snapped, but not disconnected stems.

(2) Being paranoid about the weather in the first place. Prevention is the best medicine. I pulled everthing into sheltered places the day before, and no one seems to have suffered too much.

(3) Ummm, nothing. Except maybe anxiously watching them to see if they will still grow, and trying hard not to forget to water them. I’m doing better at the “nothing” part than I am at the “watering” part.

(4) About the clay? Unfortunately, anything to fix the clay requires money, of which I do not have a lot. Or did you mean the water? Well. I am busy being very thankful that we are not in the middle of a lawn-crunching, dust blowing, tree killing drought, like we’ve had the past couple of years. How’s that? Oh, and Teman dug a little drainage ditch along the side of the garden. The rodent appreciated it. Teman said the rodent was probably going to join the Water Rat Guild, if he kept it up.

(5) No one resists peanut butter for long (insert evil laugh here)! Last year, the stinking things did me the favor of, besides making sure I had a very, very well aerated garden, doing product control on my tomatoes and making sure they were all developing the proper flavor. Almost every single tomato. One bite. Often while they were still green. After that, their work was done, and they let the fruit flies and maggots devour the tomatoes before I got a chance. Part of the problem is that I mulch heavily with hay (a local farmer gave me 3 old round hay bales). This is a necessity, as per the above mentioned drought. If you want anything to grow, you mulch. I mulch, the rodents move into the new apartment complex. Actually, I’ve only seen one at a time, so I have no proof there are more. But, after his complete lack of respect, and a total mocking of my obvious authority, I declared war. Ooo, he made me burn. I set a trap that night (Monday night), and by Wednesday I had my war trophy, which was actually too gross for description, but did not stir me to any sympathy whatsoever. I will probably put the trap out again soon to make sure nobody else is left.

Yesterday I weeded some, and thinned the lettuce and spinach. Now I just need to plant everything else out, but I still say, “Nothing goes out till June 7th!” Mom points out that we’ve probably already had our first-week-of-June frost. True, but since my road test is the 6th, that has taken a more urgent priority. Parallel parking, anyone?

About the Author

Talitha spent the last few years doing an absurd combination of work and school, and found it wasn’t very pleasant. Now she’s doing work, school and a garden, and life is a little better! She also enjoys photography and hand feeding her ducks. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: herbs, vegetables, cutting garden, cottage gardening

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

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ktpupp June 16, 2003, 3:52 pm

I enjoy your site as well! I live in Michigan, another cold climate for gardening…

Although I have more of a brown thumb than a green thumb, especially this year. Last summer I had a nice planting of annuals and a few beginning perenials in my front yard garden. This year, mostly weeds and the few things I have planted thus far have barely grown. They aren’t dying, just not getting any bigger either. We’ve had cool temps and rain around here, so that has probably put everything into a state of dormancy or something.

Your blog keeps my hopes up that I can get something to grow and look pretty, even if we get frost in June too! 🙂


Kathy June 8, 2003, 11:35 am

Thank you for expressing your appreciation, Laurents. We know a lot of people find this site via search engines, but we never know if they were happy with what they found. Is there something in particular that makes is a great site for you?

Don’t forget to spread the word with your gardening friends! Kathy

Laurents June 7, 2003, 1:22 pm

Thanks for this great site/weblog