Uh Oh

Perhaps there are no mistakes in gardening, only things that have to be learned the hard way. And since every year is different, a gardener never runs out of things to learn. Case in point: I started four varieties of tomatoes from seed in February, and nursed them along through the end of winter. For several weeks they have been living outside under a plastic tunnel which protects them from frost and the wind. It gets pretty warm in there, even if there’s no direct sun. So I was unprepared for a warm sunny day (especially since it was snowing just a few days ago), and fiddled around on other projects this morning. When I finally opened the tunnel to have a look inside, I saw that most of my baby tomatoes had been cooked. Oh no! Some of them can be saved, but I will be starting over.

Another case: I am a proponent of what could be called “free-spirited” gardening. I have some degree of tolerance for plants doing what they do. I was also duped by garden designers who say things like: ” For winter interest, leave grasses and seedpods standing in flowerbeds.” I’ve done this in the past, but for some reason, I have a bumper crop of seedlings this spring. All of the grasses I left standing for aesthetic reasons have given me the gift of babies in inconvenient places. The larkspur, california poppies, and violas have sprouted prodigiously. I don’t mind a few of them wandering around the garden to add some random whimsy to my flowerbeds. I’ve potted up a few extras to give away. But the rest of them are being ruthlessly pulled up or scuffled back into the dirt. This summer, there will be more disciplined deadheading after flowers finish blooming.

Garden and learn!