No contest

Life isn’t a contest. Neither is gardening.

It seems I have to remind myself of this every year when it’s late spring I find I have way too much to do in the garden. Well, let’s be honest and say, way too much that *I* want to do in the garden. No one is forcing me be super gardener other than myself.

I was quite proud of my gardening prowess last fall when I planted a bed with a mix of leftover cold hardy seeds and managed to carry many of them over through the winter. We had a very mild winter this year, which I’m sure helped, but I’m still going to give myself a pat on the back for those efforts. Some of the overwintered chard remains, but it is bolting rather dramatically now and needs to be pulled. Since I haven’t yet gotten around to sowing any spring chard (really, I should have done so in March) I’m keeping the bolting as much under control as I can. Between the overwintered chard and the mustard volunteers that keep popping up, I’m able to have meals with greens so far with no planting involved.

We had a hail storm here just over a week ago, though, and the big chard and mustard leaves took a beating.

Hail damaged chard

Hail damaged chard. (And a bolting beet plant in the foreground.)

Hail damaged volunteer mustard plant.

Hail damaged volunteer mustard plant.

The Alliums I planted last fall — garlic, shallots, and multiplier onions — were also bruised a bit. Everything is bouncing back, though, and I was able to make a tasty meal out of the damaged mustard and chard leaves.

More importantly, the chickens came through the ordeal just fine and the coops were undamaged. B and I were both very glad that we can keep our cars inside a garage, too. Every car parked on the street or in an uncovered area had noticeable hail damage.

When trying to do some serious gardening, it really helps to keep good records and that’s another place where I’m failing. I have a nice little garden notebook where I try to jot down pertinent details like what I planted where and when. Unfortunately, I’m not always so good with making these notes. I recorded the seeds planted for the fall bed of greens very diligently; I even sketched out where I planted everything in the bed. I failed to note the date, though.

Even worse, all the stakes I carefully placed at each row of items in the Allium beds have suffered from the elements and all the writing has faded away. (If you think permanent ink Sharpies stay permanent in the garden…think again.) I neglected to sketch these beds out in my garden notebook, too, so I’ll have no idea which varieties of garlic worked best for me this year. Doh!

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which for most Chicago area gardeners is the traditional time for putting warm season plants in. The garden stores will be crazy this weekend, but I’ll likely take my chances there since I never started anything from seed this year indoors. Of course. Every year I think I may start indoor seeds…and every year I never find the time.

One thing I’m not picking up at the garden stores this weekend is tomato plants. Every year, I put in a few tomato plants like a dutiful gardener. But I don’t eat raw tomatoes. I hate raw tomatoes. (I’m not alone here; I’ve met plenty of people who share my intense dislike for raw tomatoes.) I do like cooked tomatoes, though, and even sun-dried ones. So I have decided I will plant only paste tomatoes this year.

Since most of the garden stores and nurseries around here will have tomato plant stocks slanted heavily towards slicers, beefsteaks, and other fresh eating varieties, I’ve decided to order my tomato plants this year. Too bad I didn’t think of ordering them until this morning, so I’ll have to wait to put those in for at least a week or two. *sigh*

Well, at least the variety I ordered is an open pollinated one. If I like the plants, I can save some seeds. Maybe I’ll even get around to starting them next spring.


One thought on “No contest

  1. That’s OK, Linda… I fail miserably at record-keeping too. I do put some placemarkers in the beds to remind me what I’ve planted, if it’s a new variety. But you’re right, Sharpie ink is not that permanent.


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