Things in the garden as not going as smoothly as I had hoped. Some of my crops seem to be struggling to germinate, and those that do are being ravaged by flea beetles (and probably lots of other less obvious pests). As is I’m sure a common lament, the weeds seem to be the only thing growing happily. My garden space is flanked by plots that are not being maintained, so the invaders and pests are near at hand in large number. Bindweed, in particular, is menacing the garden right now–that stuff can grow. I spend half an hour weeding every day and by the following afternoon it seems like I was never there.
Here’s a rough list of my happiest and least happy plants. A rough estimate is that around one fourth of the garden is presently growing as intended.
Near-zero Germination: Peppers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts
Doing alright: Kale, Beets, Pole Beans, Watermelon, Broccoli, Chard, Spinach, Cantaloupe, Onions
Very Happy: Corn, Sunflowers, Cucumbers, Radishes, Turnips
The majority of my indoor starts did not flourish. The only plants that grew decently and survived the hardening off phase (during which I made the mistake of leaving them out in two days of rain) were peppers and tomatoes. Fortunately, these are among the plants that are still working toward germination. So, I planted out about half a dozen each of roma tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and bell peppers.
The tomatoes survived about a week in the ground before something came and stripped them of all their foliage. The peppers seem to be doing okay, but they seem stuck. They are not dying, but nor are they growing. I planted them still in their peat pots because it was my understanding that they ought to be able to push roots right through the sides, but they do not seem to be doing that. They have survived being replanted, but they seem stuck. Maybe they are just spending all their energy on rooting out right now, but it seems like maybe they are root bound in those little peat pots.
I replanted some of the rows with crops that are having greater success in the garden. Just doubling down on what seems to be working. But I am also thinking that it might be time to purchase a few seedlings and get them in the ground. Particularly for tomatoes. Garden-grown tomatoes are half the reason to have a garden, so I may as well spend a few bucks and get a headstart on that process (after writing this I went to the store and tomato plants were $12-21, which is a bit high for me).
The garden is certainly not flourishing as I’d hoped, but I am learning. There were so many variables to deal with in the beginning of the season, it was very overwhelming. I did my best to read, plan, and make sound decisions, but there was just too much. You can’t figure it all out at once. I have a bad habit of wanting to be great at everything from the moment I start. I read twenty books ahead of time so that I can come in strong, but you just can’t learn it all from books. It is always humbling to be reminded that to become good at something you have to start out bad and learn from error.
I think I will be able to recover to a respectable garden for this year and end the season with lots of food and, more importantly, tons of knowledge for next year. The list of things to do differently next time is already quite long.