Gardening is a lot about failing.
Starting from seed is full of little heartbreaks.
The life in that little grain has to burst through the seed coat, find moisture, coolness or warmth. As it pokes a green head through the soil, it will be whipped by a biting wind or beaten down by the sun.
Its tiny, hairy roots need constant dampness, or its whole being seizes up and dies.
It has to survive birds and squirrels, snails and slugs, cutworms and cabbage worms.
And then… it has to grow.
A catalogue of failures
This has been an unproductive and most disappointing season. The cool season is officially behind us, and my poor boxes are barren.
- 🚫 broccoli and bok choy: started indoors in February, transplanted in mid March (about 1″ tall). But they just didn’t grow! They made it to a skinny 2-3″ (instead of 1-2′) and bolted.
- 🚫 kale: same story as above. I transplanted 3 starts, though 1 has survived. 3 weeks ago I planted seed again. Seeds germinated, and then disappeared.
- 🚫 cilantro: 1 plant out of 50(?) seeds became a plant
- 🚫 chives: I’ve sown seeds twice. Nothing so far.
- 🚫 beets and spinach: I’ve sown about 30 seeds each in several rounds since mid March. The last sowing, 3 weeks ago, looks promising: the beets are coming up with tiny ruby red stalks and starter leaves. Spinach came up for a few days then disappeared.
- 🚫 sunflowers: 2 out of 6 came up, and 1 of those was promptly mown down by some slug
- 🚫 arugula: a rich row of seedlings was alive and green one week, and evaporated the next.
- peas: I had to sow them twice. The first time, I planted soaked peas in mid March and waited and waited. A couple of cold snaps may have killed them off. I found some squishy pea husks when I dug around in early April. I soaked some more and planted them again. Now they’ve come in strong.
- lettuce: it’s my goal to grow most of the garden from seed, but we cheated a little with some lettuce starts, but I interplanted some seeds and those have actually taken off.
A List of Thrivers
But, for the sake of moving forward, I should also note the plants that are doing surprisingly well.
- Tomatoes and eggplant are doing well. I started from seed as usual in mid February and these have done predictably. I put them in the raises beds 2 weeks ago and though they are spindly, they’re growing and we saw our first tomato fruit this morning
- Garlic: faithful, delicious garlic… Spring garlic and scapes are my favorites, and those did not disappoint this year!
- Artichokes: we are having a bonanza this year! But since this is a perennial, does it count?
I’ve been out in the garden for 2 months already. I’ve been making plans since February
Persist, persist, persist. Revise, revise, revise.