I am feeling overwhelmed. My heart is pounding, my stomach churns, and I can’t seem to focus. Salmonella, you’re wondering? I do cook a lot of chicken…
Nah, nothing so dire. I am suffering from a serious case of Too Much FREAKING Information. The thing is, I love gardening, and I want to do it right! I can’t stop reading and collecting information and making notes and lists and writing things that require an asterisk next to them so I *DO NOT FORGET! Sheesh, it’s just a hobby! I need to chill already. But I can’t seem to and I think I know why.
It seems that I’ve decided to try too many new things this year. For starters, I planted a cool season garden for the first time. Okay, no biggie. But I also read up on cover crops and decided it would be good to nourish my soil while it’s resting so I planted buckwheat and clover in two beds. And some sugar snap peas of course, because they replenish the nitrogen in tired soil. See, there’s something I just learned. *LEGUMES REPLENISH NITROGEN And I threw some flax seeds from the cupboard in there because I think I read somewhere they’re kind of a cover crop. Maybe.
Then I built my first pallet box garden and filled it using this lasagne gardening method I’ve been reading about. Layer everything you can – chopped leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, cardboard, kitchen scraps – and let it work its magic. Smart right? Hey I can even use the neighbor’s grass clippings! Oh wait, no, the lawn was treated with Sevin, so that can’t go into my organic garden. Right? (Checks with gardening friends online: Right. *SEVIN IS POISON). OK, scratch grass clippings.
Well shoot, I need more ‘green’ for this to work. Oh hey, seaweed and kelp are an excellent ‘green’ for the lasagne garden! I can get that free at the beach! Wait, should I rinse the salt or not rinse the salt? Better rinse the salt. No wait, this article says the salt has all the good minerals in it my garden needs. Ok, don’t rinse the salt. But people are telling me salt will kill the plants! Ok, rinse half the salt. Phew. Here’s a bunch of great info on using seaweed in the garden. Now I just hope there’s none of that nasty Fukushima radation in it…
I also decided to start my own veggies from seeds because I have recently become a seed-swapping fool. After piles of research I built my little germination station and everything started sprouting. Yay! Wait, what? It’s too early for peppers? But they’re already growing! Ok, I’ll keep them inside until April. I should probably spritz them with diluted fish emulsion because I read that it’s really good for plants. Hey, what happened to my little babies? They’re all bent over and I think three are dead. Oh, don’t fertilize until they have two sets of real leaves? Well why on earth didn’t anyone tell me that?!? Poop. *DO NOT FERTILIZE SEEDLINGS
Luckily it was too early for peppers anyway. Oh yeah, and they need to stay moist but not damp. They will die of the dreaded *DAMPING OFF DISEASE. Dampness is plant murder. So is dryness. Water them the perfect amount or THEY WILL DIE. Despite my tampering, many of my seedlings have thrived and required me to keep making more space for them.
Now in planning my spring garden I see that the yard is really shaded. Hm. How can I place plants in full sun? Container gardening! That’s a thing, right? I’ll just collect whatever pots and things I can find and plant in them. What do I fill them with? Apparently there are A LOT of opinions on this. Compost sounds like a good start, and we make our own! I know it’s healthy because it’s got eggshells and coffee grounds and all kinds of good stuff in it. But wait, compost needs to ‘cook’ at 180 degrees to kill pathogens and bacteria? And eggshells should be baked before going in the garden to kill salmonella? I did not know that. Did our compost cook properly or do I need to put it in the oven? That’s crazy, I’m not cooking dirt. But what if I’m spreading vile pathogens all over the garden?!? OK, maybe I’ll buy compost. But we have a compost pile! grrrr.
So now I have lots of healthy seedlings and I need to *HARDEN THEM OFF or they will DIE. This means they need to go outside a few hours a day for a week or two. So on day three it’s pouring down freezing cold rain. Should I put them out in the rain to acclimatize them, or is it too cold? Will they fill up with water and die of *DAMPING OFF DISEASE? Well, maybe I’ll just put them by the door and they can watch the rain. That always makes me happy.
And of course I’ve started growing milkweed plants to help save the monarch butterflies. It is the only food monarch caterpillars eat! Due to the invasive Monsanto monster, cold weather, clear-cutting in Mexico, flooding and assorted other critical factors there is no longer enough milkweed for the monarch so we should all have some in our garden. You can get yours here.
Unfortunately I sowed mine during a period in which the moon was in its barren phase, or was it the gravitational pull week? You can tell because they are tall and leggy instead of stout and green. Moon Phase Gardening? Really? Hm. Please note that these were planted in a rotisserie chicken “mini-greenhouse” because seeds like to be *WARM AND MOIST for germination. Don’t forget to poke holes in the top or THEY WILL DIE.
So that is a small portion of the crap spinning around in my head. Did you notice how many times the possibility of DEATH was mentioned? Gardening is SO FREAKING RELAXING! Next time maybe we can discuss which corn and beans work for the Three Sisters planting method, companion planting, watering with ollas, whether the squash I’m growing will cross-pollinate and how to prevent monarch butterflies and bees from disappearing forever from the earth (which, by the way, will kill us all).
Is it any wonder I just want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie?