gardening, fish or cut bait edition

Fish or Cut Bait Gardening 1

So remember what I said earlier? How I have no experience with ANYTHING having to do with gardening? Keep that in mind. Because of my insane nerdspaz tendencies, I own FOUR gardening books. FOUR. I had yet to plant anything (beyond the seed of doubt in my mind that any of this will be remotely successful, of course) until this past Sunday. I’ve probably spent more time on Google in the past few months than the people who WORK at Google. If there was a show for information hoarders, I would star in the first episode.

As I mentioned, last weekend I dug up all four of the garden beds, and also spent a few hours looking like an uneducated stalker at the local Southern States and nurseries. Seriously, I went to TWO local nurseries, and TWO different Southern States. And I asked for people’s opinions at every single place I went. At one of the nurseries, a woman implied that I might be biting off more than I can chew for my first year of gardening. (Actually, there was no implication. She straight just said, “you’re biting off more than you can chew.” I left after that.)

I stopped asking people for help after that.

Thus, my “fish or cut bait” title — which is really the Politically-Correct-Food-Blogger Version of another less-than-popular colloquialism that I decided not to use because I’m too classy because I was afraid people would be offended. Basically, I figured it’s time to stop asking questions and just DO SOMETHING.

Fish or Cut Bait Gardening 2

I think, out of sheer terror of not having a plan of attack, I’m going with the Square Foot Gardening technique this year. It’s good for newbies like myself, and it keeps you organized and such. I figure later on, once I get my bearings, I can change it up if I see fit. So at 4 beds each measuring 8 feet by 4 feet, I have… 132 squares to fill with plants.

My first thought was something along the lines of, WOW THAT’S A LOT OF SQUARES. Which was also my husband’s first thought, although our interpretations were somewhat different in a very men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-venus way.

Me: “Wow that’s a lot of square feet. Shit, I hope I can grow at least ONE tomato or else I’m going to look like a total ass.”

Brad: “Wow that’s a lot of square feet. I bet we’ll grow so much, we can sell the extra tomatoes to the neighbors for $6 a pound.”

Um, no, husband. You can go inside now. Go sit inside with your high expectations. Go sit inside where I can’t see you.

Anyways, here’s what has gone in so far:

1 square of lacinato kale (planted from seed on Sunday 3/4/12)
1 square of spinach (planted from seed on Sunday 3/4/12)
1 square of red cabbage transplants (planted Thursday 3/8/12)
1 square of mustard greens transplants (planted Thursday 3/8/12)
1 square of cauliflower transplants (planted Thursday 3/8/12)
1 square of broccoli transplants (planted Thursday 3/8/12)
1 square of arugula transplants (planted Thursday 3/8/12)

Have you ever heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”? I’m thinking I’m going to officially name my garden the “Fake It Till You Make It Garden” since I basically have no idea what I am doing. Case in point – transplants, how do you plant them? I heard somewhere you were supposed to tease the roots away from the ball of soil, so that’s what I did.

It’s been a week, and theoretically my spinach should have sprouted, but we did have a two nights with below-freezing temperatures this week, so I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll show up soon. It makes you wonder about using wooden greenhouses sometimes. The transplants look much the same as the day they left the nursery, except now they’re in the ground.

Tomorrow I’ll plant beets, radishes, leeks, peas, turnips, and rutabega. And then after that will come carrots, lettuce, onions, and even some seed potatoes… whenever I figure out when to plant them.

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4 thoughts on “gardening, fish or cut bait edition

  1. No need to overthink or stress over gardening – you plant some things, some will be miraculous performers for you, some will wilt and disappoint. It doesn’t matter – it only matters that you enjoy what you do produce and then next year you’ll hone your strategy. I had one garden where basil grew like a weed – my new garden, it dies off quickly. Be flexible, and grow what likes to grow there. And most of all, just enjoy it!

    • Sadly, Michele, I SHOULD know not to over-think or stress over gardening… But does that stop me? OF COURSE NOT. Part of it is genuine worry over not knowing what to do or when to do it or how to do it, which I know I can’t control and therefore shouldn’t waste time or energy worrying about. The other half is just my way of wanting to do something the best I can, like this sort of weird nesting behavior. I thoroughly enjoy taking notes on how far to space kale transplants! I’m a freak, I know! I’m excited to see what grows in my garden this year. And I have very low expectations: if I can get one tomato and one zucchini, I will consider the garden a success this year!

  2. You must be some place awesome and reliably warm in March. I have my tomatoes, onions, peppers, and leeks growing in my living room right now because there’s no guarantee we won’t get hit with the giant snow storm that decided to not come at all this year. Yesterday, the cat took a nap on them.

    I’m not joking.

    Anyway, I agree with the above commenter. Granted, I only have last year’s worth of experience gardening. I had a crazy amount of carrots but all my tomatoes got too much water all at once and split before I could pick them. I like your attitude though and I agree – if just one plant grows like it should, it’s definitely a success!

    • Jeanette, I live in Virginia, and I’m marked 7B, although every gardener I’ve talked to says the city of Richmond is more like Zone 8. Regardless, I’m using sproutrobot.com (which goes by your zip code) as my guide for when to plant… I hope it’s right!

      YOUR CAT, THOUGH. It’s not funny. I’m not laughing. That totally sucks but it sort of made me giggle for like, a split second. Then I stopped though. Did you deprive him/her of catnip for a week?

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