Gardening for Dummies: A Year in the Life of a Novice Gardener
I have been gardening for about a year now, but I have been thinking and planning to be a gardener for 2 years. That’s right, I waited a whole year after I got the itch to garden. Waited a whole year after all my friends planted their first gardens. Why? Because I wanted to succeed. I was going to win this gardening game!
Or so I thought…
1. Things die… A LOT I wanted to be the best (I might be a little competitive) so I decided I was going to start from seed. It was going to be magical, watching the seeds turn into actual sprouts into totally real plants. But the funny thing is, a whole bunch of them never sprouted. A whole bunch of them withered after turning into sprouts. And the awesome ones that actually did turn into real plants, died once I transferred them to my outdoor garden. Note to self: maybe try talking and singing to them… I hear they like that.
2. Stupid caterpillars Oh, how I hate those caterpillars. I first found them all over these awesome collard greens. Little black spots that turned into caterpillars that magically made all the leaves disappear overnight. Then they were on the mint. Then they found my cucumbers. By this point I knew what jerks they were, so I poured a bunch of Sevin on them and saved the plants for another day (my organic gardening dreams were crushed…). Well that other day came in the beginning of September when my cucumbers finally got their act together and started producing like crazy (which literally was my biggest gardening victory ever). My whole family got the flu, and I had just started working full time again. I was trying to juggle work and constantly taking people to the doctors… like every day. (I think it would have just been easier if I had gotten it too…). Anyways, I didn’t go out in the garden for 2 days, and by the time I did, my whole cucumber plant was brown with barely any leaves and the cucumbers literally missing huge chunks from them from those hungry little caterpillars. I could have cried. To be honest, I probably did. And it has been a full blown war with those little rascals. They are winning by the way.
Note to self: buy stock in Sevin
3. My Poor Tomatoes In all of my gardening dreams, I pictured me making my own tomato sauce just like Grandma. I pictured so much tomato sauce in my freezer. I was going to go back to my Italian roots. I even saved all these Tomato sauce recipes. I read the best tomatoes to plant for sauce. The whole nine yards. But did they ever grow? No. They produced like 1 or 2, and then got a weird fungus or something that just destroyed the whole plant. I totally planted like 7 tomato plants. I was devastated. And these were the actual seed plants that survived. The ones I babied and cuddled like they were my own children.
Note to self: find a plant doctor
4. Here Comes The Sun Did you know I Iive in Zone 8. They basicaly split up the whole world into these cool zones to help with gardening. That’s the kind of stuff I researched during my year of planning. So I followed those recommendations. But then I learned something… in Florida, it gets super hot in the summer. Like high 90’s every single day for at least 2 months. And you know what plants thrive in that? Not the ones I planted. It was like, “Look at all these little plants growing. They are starting to produce” to “What in the world happened, I haven’t got anything in forever.” So, ya, plants don’t like the heat, even if you faithfully water them everyday. Even if you pour Sevin on them to kill the stupid bugs. And to be honest with you, I would get sick of sitting outside in that kind of weather too. So the good news, now I know, and I will be prepared. Because after the sweltering heat, they revived and started being happy again.
Note to self: Buy a greenhouse with an AC unit.
5. HERBapalooza Odd thing, once I planted my herbs in the garden, my friends told me I should only plant them in planters or keep them in the shade because they don’t like too much sun. Oh great, now you tell me. Well alrighty then, say goodbye to my basil and oregano and parsley… But the weird thing is, those plants totally rocked the garden this year. Like my biggest victory. The basil turned into a tree. It was amazing. All the little honeybees loved it. I loved it. My family loved the pesto (I had to figure out how to still make my sauce dreams come true). So ya, I guess I am an herb mastermind.
Note to self: you do you.
That’s it, my year in gardening. Big shout out to my dad who spent countless hours making and painting my raised beds and for buying me a bunch of plants after my stupid seedlings decided to die. Also, a big thank you to my husband for getting on board and probably enjoying it as much as me now. And also, thanks, mom, for letting me know that I needed to keep changing the container sizes of my seedlings as they grew… who knew?
Until Next Time,