T.M.F.I.

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.

sugar snap peas
Sugar Snap Peas are pretty and replenish nitrogen!

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.

flax seeds growing
There are flax seeds in those little round things! I am MAKING FLAX SEEDS!

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.

pallet box garden

Here’s a view from above of my pallet box garden. I let nasturtium grow in there because it attracts pests away from my veggies. Companion planting!

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…

bucket of seaweed
You can legally remove 17 lbs. of seaweed per day from California beaches. It is full of healthy trace minerals and growth hormones!
lasagne garden
My new lasagne garden bed in progress.

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

DIY germinating box mini greenhouse
It all started so innocently…

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.

indoor seed starting
… but it grew into a monster!

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.

hardening off seedlings
My little seedlings on their first sunny field trip outside the garden room.

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.

milkweedsprouting
Grow milkweed – save the monarchs!

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?

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. LOL, you crack me up!! Thanks for the laugh. You meant for us to laugh, right? Not at you, of course. But the whole thing is so funny! 🙂

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Abso-freakin-lutely! At me, with me, as long as you’re laughing it’s all good. I have to laugh just to keep from crying! Thanks 🙂

      Like

  2. paulrhays says:

    Forget the reading and just hang with your plants. Listen to them and love them and they will nourish you.

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      I am trying to forget about the science and commune with the plants, but I think we speak different languages 😦

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  3. Oh my gosh, girl! Good for you! Flax plants are so pretty, and yours is the first I’ve ever seen. Nice work, friend. Btw, let’s make that granola for flower trade happen! 🌸

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Yes! Granola! I’m so excited! Let’s do a “gift economy” style trade – I’ll send the flower and you can just decide what to send me. Your flower is ready, will you send me your address? 🙂 Also I tagged you in an instagram post, a better view of the flax flowers. They’re so pretty!

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      1. Ooooooohhhhh yay! What’s your email address? What color?!?! I’m s
        o excited!

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          sheri@scraphound.net – It’s just like those pictured, yellow and orange. Hope that’s okay? It’s my favorite combo.

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          1. I trust you fully! You’re the artist, my friend. 😊

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  4. You know what??? I feel the SAME WAY! I think I’m just going to stick some freaking seeds into some freaking dirt and put my freaking Saran Wrap over the top of my containers and let them go just as I do every freaking year and I’ll enjoy my freaking garden!!! Great post, by the way…very WELL SAID!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      LOLOLOL! I love how many people this has resonated with. Nice to know I’m not the only one going crazy! Let’s just grow the damn food like people have done for centuries, waaay before google even existed. Halle-freakin-lujah!

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  5. Cath says:

    Been there. Loved it. But at that time the weather was much better than the past years. Your milkweed just wants a little more light (did I mention the weather is really bad?). be careful not to burn them with a too drastical change in exposition though…

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Yes the weather has been crazy! Thank goodness we got some rain finally though. I agree, the milkweed wants more sunshine. I’ll be moving them out soon after a nice little adjustment period. Thanks for your input! I like knowing I’m not alone out here 🙂

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  6. steven1111 says:

    Oh, it’s so easy to grow and experiment way way too much. I do it every year and I never learn to moderate it. But it’s just so much Fun! I Love it. Great post on TMFI… Great title too, btw… 😉 Also – I left a comment on your last comment to me on my blog about a book that I think can help you. I hope it’s useful to you.
    All the best,
    Steve

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thanks Steve! I love hearing about other people’s garden experiments, however they may turn out. It is fun… until it’s not 😉

      Thanks too for the book recommendation, I’ll be checking that out. We’ve not had much guidance so that could really help. Warmest wishes to you ~ sheri

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  7. Yes, there is a lot of information to take on board with gardening lol. From you, I’ve just learned about the salmonella risk from eggshells. Oops!

    Well, I haven’t suffered yet! Until re

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  8. Until recently I had been eating lettuce which had been fertilised with horse manure but I now know that cd give me salmonella poisoning, too. Ah well, I survived!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Nice to know my bitter ramblings were educational Lol! I’ve only known one person who had salmonella poisoning and he ate undercooked chicken while camping. I know of zero reports of gardeners getting sick from anything, even fresh horse poop. Clearly camping is the real danger 😉

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      1. Clearly it is!

        I was somewhat surprised to read that manure might be dangerous but I guess people need to cover their backs…

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          I wonder how much depends on where the materials come from. We buy fresh, organic, cage-free eggs from a local farm and I never worry about salmonella. I’d worry more if they were ‘corporate’ eggs. Same with manure maybe? What I do know is that stress kills so it’s def not worth stressing over the garden!

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          1. No definitely not!

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  9. Robbie says:

    I am laughing right now too hard to write!! I needed a cup of my holy basil-tulsi tea to get through your post-lol( long sigh-I am relaxed now)..I felt your stress building!Your post is very familiar to me!
    I’ve been there + don’t worry so much it all works out-trust me I ‘ve killed a lot of plants along the way+ made all the mistakes most people make when starting out, but along the way I have learned a few things or two + each year it gets better. It can take over you life-lol.
    I have a “pet possum” problem right now in my yard. I went out to do my trench composting + he was visiting some of my stuff I did not bury yet! He thinks I am feeding him. Do I let my dog chase him-shoot I can’t do it since he is so sweet + docile. If it isn’t killing plants it is critters coming to my organic oasis I created and sharing in the food:-) hang in there, it will get better and you will weed out what you want to do, and learn from your mistakes, but I like you, try to do it all in one season-lol…stressful! I can relate:-)

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Lol! Reading your message cracked me up all over again! Don’t worry, I’m feeling much better. It felt good to get it all ‘on paper’ so I could let it go.

      I’m slowly potting my toms up and calmly mulching my beds and breathing deeply. We have possums, skunks and raccoons that consider our compost their personal buffet and I don’t chase them either. Figure they’re helping turn my compost. The birds are nesting, bees are buzzing, monarchs are soaring and all is well 🙂

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