Confession

Squash blossoms
The thing about gardening is that once you figure out a few things and start to think that maybe you’ve got a handle on this whole ‘growing food’ thing, you get humbled. Then you start a blog and make your random musings public and then you find out you’re wrong and you really feel like you have mud on your face. So it’s confessional time.
Pollenated
Let’s start out with the zucchini’s. I was totally wrong. Those little lady flowers do need to be pollenated by bees that have also visited the male flowers. I found this out soon after my posting when I on my ‘useless male’ high horse went out and clipped off all the male flowers for quesadillas. The next day I found a poor shriveled four inch dying zucchini. The thing with these squash are that they grow really fast, so those woman flowers don’t get a chance to open up until the zucchini are already five or so inches long. If it doesn’t get pollenated it shrivels and dies, if it does get pollenated, it keeps getting bigger.

Want to hear about our garlic failure too? Remember all that lovely hardneck garlic we picked? Yep, well, we picked it too early and half of it rotted. That was a very grim discovery. There’s so much moisture in those garlic heads that you really do need to wait until the plant dries up and browns before you pick it, or, it rots.
Fenugreek
Next up. Fenugreek. I don’t know what we did wrong with it. It looked great when it first sprouted, lovely green with pink edged leaves. Then it got kind of spindly, then kind of brown. Were we giving it too much water? Too little? Did we plant them too close together? Are they supposed to look spindly? Anyway, somehow it’s unhappy, but there are a handful of big seed pods forming so at least we’ll have a little bit for making Indian food.

So there you go. Just a few garden failures of many I suppose. Scott attended a weed class this past weekend (more on that soon) and the woman teaching was announced as having 22 years of experience. It sounds like a lot, but the teacher said, “Really, it’s not that much experience, it means I’ve only grown tomatoes 22 times.” When you put it that way, it really doesn’t sound like that much. I guess we’re all just learning as we go, really.

Any gardening confessionals you need to make?

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10 Comments

Filed under just picked, what we've learned, what's blooming

10 responses to “Confession

  1. Hmm, my confession is that I had to look up Fenugreek to see what it was. Half of what I write about are the problems I have in the garden and what weird things are happening to my plants. I’ve been gardening for about 20 years and I’m still dealing with problems I’ve never dealt with before. And some I can’t figure out even after searching for hours on the web. This year I’m growing chamomile for the first time. It is just starting to bloom. I have to figure out when I’m supposed to pick it. At least we have the web as a resource now. 20 years ago it was just books and other gardeners.

  2. I’ve now killed two rounds of basil starts. And I’m too cheap to buy any so I guess it means no pesto in the freezer this year. Maybe a bit fresh once it’s at the market, but no huge amounts unless this third, very late set takes.

    Wed night I turned on the water for the tomatoes because the leaves were a little curled. Then I forgot to turn it off for two hours. Then I looked the leaf curling up online and realized that it was likely because they were too wet. So I guess I won’t be watering them again for a while… And hopefully they won’t croak.

  3. same thing happened with our garlic- what a drag. It’s the worst to grab a head of garlic and find it’s all gnarly and rotted. It’s all a learning curve- and you guys are way ahead of the curve. I know I always rely on you for your knowledge!

  4. Thanks for the tip about the squash – I nowknow not to pick the male flowers (if I get any this year). I’m hoping to plant garlic this fall as well, so your tip there will come in handy. I’m extremely glad I have resources like your blog so that I might avoid some of the problems others are having…

    You should know that you are definitely not the worst gardener out there. So far this year, I’ve managed to kill 30 onion plants, 16 bean plants, 8 squash plants, 6 tomato plants, and quite a few lettuces, all started from seed. I’m trying to remedy the soil issues that contributed to all that, have replanted the squash and beans from seed and bought a few organic tomato plants to replace my poor babies. Here’s hoping the second time is a charm. If not, there’s always next year.

  5. merlotmudpies

    Oh I feel so reassured with this post. And also so happy to know about the male flowers! I had considered lopping all of them off for goat cheese quesadillas and now I know what a mistake that would be!

    I am a first year gardener and honestly it’s all so overwhelming sometimes. But thank heaven that we are allowed to learn from our mistakes because I’ve made a TON from how I designed my beds, to what I used to build them and how I planted things together and etc. So, LOTS of opportunity to learn and to do it better next time. I hope. :)

  6. asonomagarden

    You are all the best. Thanks for all off your ‘confessions’.

    I wanted to clairify that it’s okay if you pick some of the male squash blossoms, just not all of them in one day as I did. Better yet, pick them at the end of the day after they’ve been open and the bees have had a chance to do their work. We still have been picking them, just not ALL of them at once. No need to deprive yourself of squash blossom quesadilla’s just yet (my new favorite).

  7. sinfonian2

    First off, don’t feel bad. We all make mistakes and us bloggers spout them to the world. Some of us (me) do so with an almost authoritative sound that makes people want to follow suit. For me, it was broadcasting to the world (well GardenWeb at least) about my discovery of potato bins built up as the plants grow. Aka, hilling for urbanites. Well, the article I read turned out not to tell the whole story. That it’s hard and delicate work. Several people that jumped on my Build-As-You-Grow Bin bandwagon had dismal results. I felt horrible despite the fact nobody blamed me.

    I also have made tons of mistakes. The biggest off the top of my head is abysmal space planning. I’ve got huge cauliflower shading my carrots and spinach shading my lettuce. I could go on, but you get the picture.

    That’s what I get for blogging about my first year gardening when I know only enough to be dangerous. hehe.

    Great post. Keeps us humble. Thanks!

  8. I am grateful for your confessions, because I have been wondering about my garlic. Most of them are still in the ground, and I was wondering how long I should leave them there. My confession, though it may not be much since this is my first garden, is that half of my potato plants seems to be rotten. I cut them in half when I planted them like one book told me to, and read in another that I shouldn’t have because it makes them prone to disease. Well, almost my whole row of Ukon gold plant leaves are all shriveled up, and as I was digging some up yesterday I found several that looked fine, but one that was really mushy. You live and you learn, I guess

  9. Pingback: Research Something You Are Growing (Day 24 of 30 DTABG) « A Sonoma Garden

  10. Pingback: Four Years of Junes : 30 Days to a Better Garden Revisited | A Sonoma Garden

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