The subtitle to this post should be "The Trials and Tribulations of Gardening . . . and The Reasons To Do It."
I do have a vague recollection of mentioning that we were having some lovely, warm days. Well, that didn't last long. (Bad idea, I should never have said it out loud.)
We're right back into gray, drippy, sunless days with temperatures barely reaching the 60s (most often in the 50s) and night time temps falling down into the 30s, or possibly only the 40s if we're lucky.
What's growing in my garden? Not. Much.
Even cool weather crops such as salad greens, radishes and peas seem to be hovering below ground hesitant to peek out until the sun finally appears. I think I've noted visible shivering going on out there also.
Complaining about my minor difficulties in growing our own vegetables and fruits is hardly warranted when I think of so many other parts of our country where not only the home gardeners and market gardeners but farmers, too, are battling much more dire situations.
Okay, now that I've gotten my grumping and groaning out of the way, I want to inject a positive note and suggestion.
We've all seen food prices rising to new heights, and I don't believe it's going to get any better in the near future.
Even though raising whatever portion of your own food you believe you can handle is not a walk in the park, and you will face disappointments and a never-ending learning curve, I say start doing it if you haven't already. If the market gardeners and farmers continue to lose crops, whatever you have in your own backyard will be worth its weight in gold (or at least in green beans) to you and your family.
Soon, in my neck of the woods, the nightly frost warnings will stop, the sun will reappear, my garden soil will dry out and warm up enough so I can plant the rest of the seeds I have waiting to become pumpkins, squash, beans, peppers and cucumbers.
And sunflowers will be raising their beautiful faces toward that warm sunshine!
Surprises and watched pots
2 hours ago
Good – no, ESSENTIAL – advice, dear Mama Pea. Even apartment dwellers can grow food in pots!
Yes good advise. We'll be planting more edibles in the front yard next spring, since the county is tearing up our sidewalks. We're going to re-garden!!! Glad I know how to preserve foods as well
I think you are so right about the food prices! I'v already lost my chives, a tomato plant and my rosemary. I have no idea....planted them up in Miracle Grow soil in a planter and BOOM!!! 3 days and they were dead as doornails! But the everything else is doing well. I still have more to plant but need more soil. I feel better knowing you haven't planted all your stuff. I wish it was that cool here...I remember working outside in the 50's and misting...what a mud mess but it's better than here.....yesterday was 97! Yikes...I'll have to get a headlamp hat and work at night when it goes down to 70. I hope you get some reasonable weather soon for planting but like you said....we're better off than many!
Michelle - That is so true. No apartment or house or condo doesn't have room for a pot or two (or six) of vegetables that are available for growing well in containers. And if a person would devote a patch of their back (or front!) lawn to a garden, it doesn't take a huge amount of square footage to grow a lot of food.
Your words are so true and uplifting. One good thing is gasoline is going down a little. I feel so bad for parts of the country with so much flooding tho'! We have to think positive and say our prayers for those in disaster areas. Take care!
I take time off work every Friday in May and June. I am looking forward to this weekend because it's supposed to A. Be Warm (over 70) and B. Not rain until Sunday. So far I've gotten 3 or 4 sunny days out of 15. I'm READY for sun.
Crazy weather. More rain for us today. I think the chickens might start to grow webbed feet! You always do so well growing much of your own food. I haven't planted a single seed, but it looks like I'll have lots of strawberries. -Jenn
That ought to be the title of a book! You and I can write it from opposite ends of the garden-growing spectrum! lol
Nancy - Good point you bring up about how to preserve what you grow, too! Gardens should feed our families in the summer, but if they do it in the winter months, too, that's an extra, money saving, nutritious bonus!
Sam I Am - Yes, you need to garden in the dark of the moon (!) or get up early enough in the morning to do it before it gets so hot. That heat and humidity would make me a useless puddle in your climate. Grew up in Illinois and was glad to leave the ice, ice, ice of winter behind and the high, muggy temps in the summer when we left.
Lynne - True words you have written. When I see what is going on in other parts of our country (flooding and tornadoes!), I know I have nothing of which to complain!
Smart Alex - What a good plan . . . to take Fridays off your outside job during garden starting time. Too bad Mother Nature didn't get the memo! I've been keeping track of the weather in your corner of the country and you've had some real battles this spring/early summer. Every gardening year is different . . . and doesn't it seem to be getting whacko-ier??
Jenn - Hurray for the strawberries, is nothing else! I finally found a couple of blossoms on mine within the past few days. Will you still plant a garden?
Leigh - Hmmmm, that is not a bad idea! That's what I've found so frustrating about gardening books. There is such a wide divergence of gardening zones in our country. Can't tell you how many failures (experiments!) I've had over the years following what sounded like great advice in books written by well known gardeners. (Particularly ones on the East Coast who claim success in "cooler climates.") We here in northern MN are just that much farther north which throws the big, old monkey wrench into the mix. And reading your posts over the years has opened my eyes to the very real fact that "warmer is (definitely) not always better." But we do keep on, don't we!
Hi Mama Pea :)
You are SO RIGHT about the rising cost of food...and about the entire lesson in gardening. I've only seriously been at it 3 years now and I'm learning so much...and will continue to learn for the rest of my life. Great post! I love the photo of the sunflowers! Our weather is similar except the sun decided to come out today, I'm so grateful, not only do the seeds and plants need it, I need my Vitamin D to conquer that terrible cabin fever that wants to keep sneaking in on dreary days!
PS: That strawberry/mint plant I got at the nursery...the leaves are all turning yellow now! I know I'm not overwatering, I have one of those meters that I'm using to make sure I'm watering correctly. I'm baffled. I have a few berries, but the leaves...most of the time the plant is inside by the sunny window and it gets plenty of light. Any ideas?
Rain - Wish I could give you some advice to bring your berry plant back to health. I'm having the same problem with some replacement mint plants I purchased this year and stuck in bare spots in my raised mint bed outside. (The older, established mint plants are looking hale and hearty.) This is not an uplifting thought, but I do wonder if plants we purchase from commercial greenhouses or nurseries are raised in certain "unnatural" soil mixtures and conditions and fed nutrients (chemicals?) that are in no way sustainable but produce (for a limited amount of time) vibrant looking specimens. Then when we get them home, they begin to wither and die. I know that's a negative way of looking at it, but it might be plausible.
I thought the same thing actually...about the chemicals. The nursery is basically a GIGANTIC greenhouse and that's where the plant "grew up" with ideal temps and humidity I guess, but they must feed them some kind of fertilizer. I'm thinking of transplanting the entire thing into my nice healthy soil with compost...I'm afraid I might kill it though. Do you think I should take the gamble? All or nothing??? ;) Yet another learning curve!!!
Yes, those who can, grow.
Our family next door, has been increasing the number of their garden beds.
Not nice weather here, as well. Lots of rain, but not much sun.
Remember D-Day... Please....
Rain - I vote for you going ahead and transplanting. I certainly could be wrong, but I don't think the plants in their present pot are going to get any better. (They're currently trying to tell you something!) Have you noticed when you buy any kind of a plant in a pot or hanging basket how light in weight the soil seems? That soil may have a lot of (artificial?) growth stimulants in it, but is probably not season-long sustainable. And you just know your composted soil is soooo much better!
wisps of words - I do realize gardening is simply not an option for some. But I see so many HUGE lawns so big it takes a riding mower to keep it mowed that could (literally) grow enough vegetables to feed a family (with teenage eaters) for a year. Remember the Victory Gardens of World War II? So many folks could do that again if they didn't profess they didn't have the time. They might well think of the exercise gardening gives them. Saves time and money not paying for a gym membership and driving there.
I know you've has too, too much rain. Ugh. And no sun to boot. Maybe you should think about growing mushrooms. ;o]
D-Day . . . so many brave soldiers, such a sacrifice.
I think you're right...I'm going to do it - nothing to lose at this point! And yes, the pot is ULTRA light. I wonder if I should move it to a bigger pot.
Rain - Regarding the repotting it in a bigger pot, take a look when you remove it from the present container. I'm betting you'll see signs that it would welcome more room to stretch out its roots!
Thanks Mama Pea! I appreciate your wealth of knowledge. I'll keep you informed, hope it works!!! xx
Rain - You're so welcome. Don't know if it's more a wealth of experimentation . . . rather than a wealth of knowledge! :o]
A very excellent post and so timely, Mama Pea! Everyone should be planting something - it's amazing how much you can grow in a window box. It seems that, every year, one thing will grow better than another. I am no expert in any way (probably the opposite) but I make up for it with enthusiasm. And overplanting! My feeling is that there is always someone who will need tomatoes this summer. Make that many someones. This past Sunday was in the low 80s and, when I woke up Monday morning, it was 34! A lot of small farms nearby had some frost damage, but we all march on. Lemme know if you need tomatoes this summer... xo
It's no fun if we can't complain!! ox
Lynn - Maybe we should call it letting off steam rather than complaining. As in "I'm not a complainer, I'm just a letting-off-steamer." ;o]
Susan - The upsetting thing to me is that when I have abundance of one crop in the garden -- say green beans -- I can hardly give them away. The response may be, "Oh, but we eat so few green beans," or "What would I do with that many?" I try to explain they can be canned or frozen very easily, but the response many times is that they don't have the time or want to take the time to do that. I must know the wrong people, huh? :o( I guess that explain a lot as to why more people don't garden.
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