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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Garden Blunders!

We all do it.. (though some of us may deny it!).. we all make garden blunders. Is there a better way to learn than by making mistakes? 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!

One of my favourites is when I decided to add a bit more colour to a newly planted perennial border (a 4 foot by 20 foot garden) and planted 4 packets of nasturtium seed.. not just any nasturtiums, but the vining types.. That's well over 100 vining nasturtium plants winding their way through my baby perennials.. their rampant vines also spilled out onto the pathways and eventually created a 4 x 20 foot mound of nasturtiums!! By the time I yanked them all out in mid-summer, the perennials were not impressed and I had a 5 1/2-foot tall pile of discarded nasturtium vines - it was bigger than me! (I can't believe I never got a photo of that pile!) At least it was a 'composting opportunity'! (In the worlds of Canadian garden personality Mark Cullen).

Another was when I allowed a few annual chamomile plants to go to seed in the vegetable garden.. that was 5 years ago, and I'm still digging out those darn seedlings every year! They took over an entire swath of the garden (along with the cosmos seed that I also tossed in the garden - what was I thinking?!) I do love chamomile tea and the blooms certainly attract both pollinators and beneficial insects, but a sea of chamomile will choke out a tomato in the blink of an eye! Ooooppppssss!

Of course, my biggest gardening blunder was starting my very first veggie garden in the shade!! Brilliant, eh? It was under the protective branches of a mature maple tree and although we only harvested one measly tomato, we did have a bumper crop of mid-summer greens that seemed to appreciate the respite from the heat.. 

What are some of the garden blunders that you've made..? Can you top mine?! I dare you.. :)

Happy Gardening!

15 comments:

  1. That's a whole lot of nasturtiums, at least some of your blunders are pretty ones.:) When we were first married my wife brought one little feverfew plant with from her old house and now they are one of our most notorious weeds. Let's see, there was the time I made an underground cold frame and it filled up with water during the rainy season. Believe me there are many, many others that slip my mind at the moment. I think perhaps the vast majority of our blunders can be chocked up to crazy gardening experiments gone awry.:)

    Oh, and a big blunder I noticed the other day was that of leaving our grandson alone in the garden for a few minutes with a pair of shears...he cut the tops off all our little apple tree seedlings that we started from seed the previous season...grr.

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  2. Ah yes.. young, unsupervised children in the garden can be worse than deer!! A few years ago, my 3 year old niece liked to pick everything in the garden if left for more than a few seconds! Let's just say, we didn't get any eggplant that year.. and lost a bunch of tomatoes.. and all of the spring crocus in the crocus lawn were picked and dropped back down on the grass.. little darlin's! :)

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  3. Garden mistakes? All of the hours, and hours I spent "Pulling out" Asian knotweed plants. All grew back, flourishing. Seemed to enjoy my attempts at weeding. Roundup was the only way to get them out of my side flower bed. A five year project to turn that section of our property from a faux bamboo jungle into an actual flower bed.
    Congrats on the book launching this winter!

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  4. Accepting ajuga and goutweed as pretty perenniels!! Thanks for the info on lexan.Have you ever tried growing mushrooms? We missed a workshop last year at the ecology action center but would really like to go to a workshop on this- know of any?

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  5. Ahhhh....Thanks for asking)))). I spent hours yesterday pulling out Lamiastrim / dead nettle. Sure it was lovely with it's interesting leaves and cones of yellow flowers and it struggled for two years and well...not anymore. That was the worst mistake, that and putting ivy under the tree bed which has now gone into the flower bed.

    You know, the Lamiastrim smells like goutweed when you pull it out. mmmm

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  6. Great comments - thanks!! goutweed.. if I had a dollar for everytime I heard about goutweed!! I can't believe they still sell it in nurseries as a groundcover.. but, I've heard that will change soon and it may be added to the NS list of 'no-no's', aka the invasive plant list..

    Monica - my grandparents had Japanese knotweed - a terrible plant and so hard to eradicate! Hope you've conquered that problem and thanks for the kind comment about the book! :)

    garden girl - sorry, i don't know of any mushroom workshops - but will post about them if I hear! I've never ventured into the 'dark' side of edibles.. :) I've heard it's fun, but not economically a good way to supply mushrooms as the cost of the kids far outweighs the harvest..

    Thanks again!

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  7. But the nasturtiums are pretty. I planted a few poached egg plants, it took years to get rid of them out of the paths where the seeds fell.

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  8. Last year,I planted mint around my cabbages cuz a book said it repelled cabbage butterfly moths..mint is sweet smelling...but evil for spreading. And once I tried to make garlic fingers out of what I thought was garlic in the refrigerator but was actually tulip bulbs and got quite ill. You woulda think I would have noticed the lack of garlic smaell....

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  9. I guess mine is something I do every year. I plant enough salad greens to feed a family of 2 (kids don't eat salad in my house) as soon as possible in the spring as I rarely eat salad in the winter. The problem is when the plants mature we have a garden over run with lettuce, enough to feed an army. I say this thinking of the bed I just planted a week ago. /sigh

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  10. And then there's the year or two that I roto-tillered the garden excessively, all the while that the weed "horsetail" was present. Nothing like adding ten years of hard labor to your list of "things to do".
    Horsetail....no its not a tough weed, it only survived the DINOSAUR ERA!! Concentrated Round-up only makes it more shiny. Beware of Horsetail fellow gardeners!

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  11. Ah no Pete - not mint and horsetail!! My childhood vegetable garden had horsetail - CRAZY weed and as you said, impossible to get rid of without hardcore work.

    I had to laugh at your tulip comment - edible, but not tasty, unless you're a deer! :)

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  12. Really enjoyed seeing you at the home show last weekend. I have a couple of questions...Where can I find the seedlings for purple potatos - I found the purple carrot seeds at Hfx seed - my husband is very excited for the purple veggies!! Also, where can I find the seeds for the Emerite or Fortex pole beans? And finally, how do I go about getting my soil tested - it was on the news yesterday that we tend to have a lot of arsenic and lead in our soil in the city - I am in Timberlea but want to be prudent. Thanks!!Donna

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  13. Where should I begin? Mint not contained, horseradish not contained (although I love eating the thicker roots), sowing a "meadow mix" which included yarrow (still growing in our lawn). Just now the prize goes to "Forget Me Not". We moved house 15 years ago and a friend gave us one plant. "This is so you won't forget me". We haven't! But I have to admit that I don't say nice things as I try to dig them all out for the 15th time.

    p.s. I tolerate our mound of Tom Thumbs which grows year after year (not having any perrenials buried underneath).

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  14. Hi Donna - thanks for your questions and comments! I hope to get some of the purple potato seed potatoes at Oceanview Garden Center in Chester (www.plantcrazy.ca - give them a call to see if they'll have it again).. it's Caribe potatoes - purple skin, creamy flesh. yummy!! Also, fortex green pole beans at www.mcfayden.com or www.johnnyseeds.com or www.westcoastseeds.com or emerite at www.reneesgarden.com or www.kitchengardenseeds.com.

    For a soil test in NS, here is the government lab link - http://www.gov.ns.ca/agri/qe/labserv/soilsamp.shtml You should be able to mail them a sample, but in Timberlea, you should be safe.. places like downtown Halifax or near Quinpool road may want to get soil tests, but in your region, I would assume all is ok in regards to heavy metals.

    If your hubby is excited about the purple veggies (me too!!) maybe try some purple kohlrabi seed too! Hfx seed has it as do many of the seed racks at your local garden centers and grocery stores and hardware stores..

    Finally, please and photos of your garden as the season progresses - I love to see what people are doing and growing!!

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  15. Hmmmm, mine would be the opposite... not planting in the shade but Las Vegas has heat issues ! my tomatoes dont do very well here but I am trying heartland and hawaiian sweets to check heat tolerant varieties.
    nice blog though~
    Brad~

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Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)