“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.- Doug Larson”
In early spring I always decide there is nothing quite as satisfying as bare fresh empty gardens awaiting planting. The musky earth smells of soil and rain and the first green growing things of the year fill me with the excitement of all that potential, just waiting for whatever I can dream up.
By the beginning of summer this excitement becomes a celebration of new growth, watching whatever I have planted start to show itself and the first true leaves unfold. There always comes a time when I feel that I am not finished planting, and yet, I have run out of vacant spaces to fill.
Whether you garden in long rows and plowed fields (as I sometimes have) or in raised boxes and various containers anywhere they will fit (as I currently do) – it is satisfying to watch your plants emerge and begin to grow.
There is a sweet spot, just at the beginning of the season, when the bugs are not too bad, the plants are still tender and fresh faced and the weeds are still holding off. This time is one of the best in any garden. While everything to follow will be exciting, and challenges will arise such as pests, disease and competitive weeds, right in this moment all is well with the world.
The sweet time is nearing a close in my garden. The transplants are growing tall and healthy, and the seeds have all emerged and are doing their best to catch up.
By this time I am already watching at least 6 inches of new growth reach for the sun. The mosquitoes are nearly as big as birds and the weeds are just starting to try and run the show.
I have some favorites that I plant every single year, like my Scotia tomatoes and my Royal Burgundy beans, and some favorite veggies that I try new varieties of, like my Lincoln/Homesteader peas and my Grand Rapids green leaf lettuce.
With all of the basic planting done, I often go back and sneak a small patch of carrots among the tomatoes, or tuck in a couple of marigolds here and there for their color and their pest control properties.
There are no chemicals used anywhere on my property. No fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or other manufactured garden “ides”, however useful they might be. Some friends have informed me that I would get a much better crop if I would add some of these. I am satisfied with my crop, and if I feel I need more of it, will happily build more gardens.
The real meaning of plant catalog terminology:
“A favorite of birds” means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.
“Grows more beautiful each year” means “Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future.”
“Zone 5 with protection” is a variation on the phrase “Russian roulette.”
“May require support” means your daughter’s engineering degree will finally pay off.
“Moisture-loving” plants are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.
“Carefree” refers more to the plant’s attitude than to your workload.
“Vigorous” is code for “has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world.”