Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things I wish I figured out sooner

  1. Many perennials don't bloom from seed the first year. Sounds easy enough, isn't it? But I didn't know that when I planted coneflowers at the back of a carefully designed flower bed. And waited. And waited.
  2.  Four O'Clocks are perennials. When you hear the loud "thump" digging in flower bed it's not a shovel that broke, it's a taproot of Mirabilis.
  3. Don't step in blooming flower bed in sandals. Ever. Bee stings HURT.
  4. Flowers are not veggies, they don't look good in rows!
  5. Alpine strawberry plants can get as big as regular strawberries. Those teeny-tiny leaves in the woods are small because they lack sunlight and nutrients.
  6. Plant labels can be messed up. The probability of getting all white blooms from a 12-pack of mixed hyacinth bulbs is 1 in 200 millions. I have better chances winning a lottery jackpot. Labeling error at a nursery is far more likely.
  7. Cucumbers don't transplant well. The attempts to fill the gaps in rows by moving cucumber plants are futile.
  8. Yes, mint spreads like crazy. No, several cups of mint tea aren't worth the trouble of pulling runners from strawberry patch, between thorny raspberry canes, from the lawn and even neighbor's garden plot.
  9. A single zucchini plant can take 9 square feet of space and is a powdery mildew magnet.
  10. Voles love beets. I didn't harvest a single beet in two years. Wish I didn't chase that snake out of my garden.
  11. Peat pots plus unheated greenhouse in early May equals stressed tomato seedlings. Water evaporates freely from a peat pot surface lowering root zone temperature quite a bit. Two people out of 30 used peat pots in our community garden and we both ended up with purplish seedlings and delayed growth.
  12.  99-cent tomato cages not only break, they bend under the weight of tomatoes.
  13. Mulching tomato plants with straw significantly cuts on early blight.
  14. Osmocote slow-release pellets are too slow for me. It seems like they don't dissolve at all.
  15. Putting 80 lb of bagged soil in a wheelbarrow and going downhill can be spectacular, especially if you own weight is 110 lb. Not quite the "barrel of bricks" fallacy but a capsized cart nonetheless.

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