Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Top Ten Amateur Gardening Tips

1. When your friends say that you can let your herbs grow all summer and just keep clipping them for fresh herbs- it isn't true for Cilantro and Dill. They go to seed and lose most of their flavor. The flowers are pretty though. It is true for Basil and Chives. So far anyway.

2. When people try to tell you that you need a compost box or some other contraption- you really don't. Just dump all your vegetable scraps, hair clippings (these keep deer out of your garden too), dryer lint and egg shells in a pile. Throw weed and grass cuttings and leaves on it. Turn it with a shovel every once in a while and water it. You'll have great organic fertilizer. Never set your compost heap on fire. As the organics decompose they release methane gas. You will have an inferno on your hands.

3. When you finally find tomato cages and they are reasonably priced, realize that if you try to put them on your tomato plants now you will damage some of the stalks and some of the tomatoes will drop on the ground before they ripen. You will put them on anyway because you want to feel like a way cool gardener but there is a price to pay.

4. Plant lettuce adjacent to the butternut squash that will creep its way over and eventually take over. It's okay because you lettuce will have been harvested by then.

5.Never plant your pumpkin patch in a field where your children ride their 4 wheelers. The exhaust will keep them from growing. And seeing the plants, flowering and the exact same size as when you planted them 2 months ago will make you hate the 4 wheelers even more.

6. If you plant Peppermint it will thrive but it will continue to thrive until you actually become afraid of it.

7. Forsythia can be cut and stuck into the ground and it will grow impressively.

8. When you work in the garden with your children you create an unmistakeable bond.In the silence your souls meet.

9. Twilight is the buggiest time in the garden.

10. The minute the last vegetable is picked and the harvest is complete you'll feel an undeniable sense of loss. You will garden again next year but it will never be the garden of this past summer.


Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

As for #1 and the herb thing. You can't just take off what you want. You have to snip the tops (so they won't go to seed, won't get flowers). You can't ever let the tops bud and start to flower. We just pinch our tops every few days and then never flower and they just keep growing growing growing! The basil will do the same...so make sure you pinch off the tops!!

As for the tomatos...you could have safely staked them without damaging them. Cla just uses simple stakes and attaches the plants with garbage bag ties.

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

Ohh and I forgot to mention:

YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

M. Alexander said...

That's more like it ;). LOL

Anonymous said...

If you have old panty hose, just cut them up and use them to tie the plant to the stake....they are more gentle on the tomato stalks.

Kimberly said...

Great post! And I have to agree with the statement on staking the tomatoes. Our tomato plants look like Amazon jungle trees...you can hardly reach inside the cages to pick the red ones. The plants we stake are much easier to harvest from. Right now, I'm waiting for this "monster" to ripen...it is beyond huge, a lovely heirloom German Queen. I'll have to post a photo...

Picked a bushel yesterday. Guess what I'll be doing today ;-D

jim klasz said...


Dust I Am said...

I'm not sure about No. 8! I used to get a fair amount of complaining and "Am I finished yet?"

What! No rule for raising zuchinnis? Consider Rule 3.5: A zuchinni is a humble and virtuous vegetable. You won't know how humble it is until you finally find it and it comes out of hiding to grace your table at 8.2 pounds!