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Surprise Gardening

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My gardens are starting to come in rather nicely.  I love watching all the green stuff coming up and filling in the spaces, and never cease to be amazed by the rate at which plants can grow.  Things seem to double in size over night, despite crazy weather, ravenous slugs and digging cats.

Unintentionally, I engage in what I refer to as surprise gardening.  Every year I pick out seeds from catalogs that specialize in heirloom and organic varieties.  I'm no big fan of the ginormous seed companies that utilize genetic modification, and abuse the power they have over farmers.  Plus, I happen to think heirloom varieties are more fun and taste a whole lot better.  I spend hours poring over catalogs, selecting things that look good.  I always order more seeds than I should.

As excited as I am about what I'm going to grow, I seem to have a major problem keeping track of things in my gardens.  Every year I go out and plant all those little seeds, and every year I think that I don't need to mark what I have planted where because I'll remember.  How could I forget where I put the blue hubbard squash, or the rainbow swiss chard, or the watermelons?  I'm so excited about each one, that I'll certainly remember exactly where I put everything.

Every year, about a week after planting, I haven't a clue what's where.

Then it becomes a fun test to identify what comes up and what doesn't.  Certain things I recognize without hesitation.  The dill that re-seeded itself is pretty unmistakable.

The mint that takes over everything every year and has become the bane of my existence is also unmistakable.  Curse the strangling stuff.  I don't rip it out solely because I'm always afraid nothing else will come up, and at least I'll always have the mint.

The lavender always stays put.

I recognize the cute curly leaves of the kale when it starts to appear.  And the rainbow swiss chard gets rainbow-ey mighty fast.

The tomatoes are in the earth box, but which variety is which?  I will know only when one or the other sprouts purple cherry tomatoes or big red ones.

However, there are things I won't be able to identify for months to come.  There are a couple of varieties of squash out there, and there's no way on Earth I could distinguish one from another.

And what didn't arrive at all?  I know I have a big bare spot or two, but I may never remember what I put there.  Bad seeds?  Bad planting?  No idea.  Has the zucchini appeared somewhere and I don't recognize it?  What happened to the lettuces, and how many varieties did I even plant?

Am I missing purple striped lima beans or watermelons or genovese basil?  Perhaps I shall find out.  Eventually.

As always, my gardening efforts are one great big adventure.  It amazes me that I ever wind up with anything edible out there.  But I always do, somehow.  There are always failures, and there are always delicious successes.  I generally find myself inundated with something, and lacking something else.  It's different every year.  And you know what?  That's just fine with me.  It turns out I like surprises.


Anonymous June 16, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

LOL - We seem to have the same garden ethic. I have some radishes in somewhere that I have no knowledge of planting. But I know I did because I found the empty seed package. Ha! I do the same. I have no idea what is where. And I have parsley in with petunias, peas in with begonias, basil in with hosta. I think it's fun!

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