Sow and a miss!

  • It’s always more fun to write about my successful gardening endeavors. But, I had several this year that went amiss. As I’ve mentioned before, I dream big. When I take on a gardening experiment, I fully expect that it’s going to be successful. When deciding to plant pumpkins this year, I figured that my biggest problem was going to be finding enough space to sprawl or providing them with a sturdy support system to grow vertically. I anticipated finding an old ladder that the vines would climb and the steps would bear the weight of my great pumpkins perfectly. I did not expect this:

    Pumpkin Plants on August 23rd

    They are such sad looking pumpkin vines, which is really disappointing because I thought it’d be so fun for Gavin to watch the pumpkins grow. A few weeks ago, I planted a couple more seeds as a desperate second attempt. You can the little seedlings in the photo above. I suppose it’s possible that we’ll have an Indian summer and we can get a pumpkin or two. It’s not looking good, though.

    Another experiment that went poorly: my summer bulb cutting garden. During the month of May, I planted over 100 summer bulbs. I thought I’d have tons of gorgeous flowers to cut for summer bouquets. It looked promising, as they all seemed to pop up through the ground. But, besides a few gladiolas, none of them flowered. Instead, they look like this:

    Summer bulbs on August 23rd

    The stems are all very sad looking and while I suppose a few may bloom, it is not the cutting garden I envisioned. I think I will dig the bulbs up and overwinter them. Next year, I’m going to try forcing them indoors. Then, I will transplant them outside once the weather warms up. I think that may work out better. Last year, I tried planting annuals by seed and that experiment did not work out very well either. Besides some late blooming zinnias, it was basically a bust. When I think of cutting gardens, I often picture sweet peas. For the second year in a row, my sweet peas did not work out. Last summer, I sowed the seeds directly in the garden. Only a handful germinated, and the seedlings never really took off. This year, I started the seeds indoors. I had seedlings that were about 10 inches tall, which I planted around a bamboo teepee. I was confident that this would prove successful. It would make a lovely statement in the garden. Instead, this is what I ended up with:

    Sweet pea teepee on August 23rd

    So much for the statement piece that I anticipated. The seedlings have only gained about two inches of new growth and show no signs of blooming. I have no idea what I am doing wrong with them. It’s a mystery- one that I will eventually solve. That’s the beauty of gardening. It’s about discovery and patience. Each year, I am surprised by something and rarely do things go as planned. Last year I had that amazing tomato trellis. This year, I have a butternut squash plant that is about 30 feet long! It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t work out. But, at the end of the day, these failed experiments force us to learn more about the hobby we love. I am determined to figure out the best way to put together a cutting garden which includes those pretty little sweet peas. Hopefully, third time will be the charm. And, even though the pumpkin situation is not looking too hopeful, I will continue to give them pep talks over the next couple of months. I just want one! Is that too much to ask?!? Something tells me we will be visiting the pumpkin patch this year…


    August 23rd, 2011 | girl has thyme | 3 Comments |

3 Responses and Counting...

  • Eileen 08.23.2011

    Sorry about the pumpkins and the flowers. Wish I knew what to tell you. Only advice is read ,read ,read and ask your local nurseries. Love your perseverance and reading your posts! Glad to know you’ve bloomed where planted even if some of your flowers haven’t

    [Reply]

  • Isn’t that funny? You’d think pumpkins would be so simple to grow but you just never know what’s going to happen. Last night we were enjoying cocktails by the river and I looked over at all these amazing flowers blooming out of our compost pile … they’re doing better than the flowers growing in our yard. Next year I’m going to throw a few pumpkin seeds in the compost pile just to see what happens!

    [Reply]

    girl has thyme Reply:

    When I was in sixth grade, we lived in Poulsbo. My parents threw our old carved pumpkins and seeds out in the compost bin. Wouldn’t you know, we had the best pumpkin patch ever the following summer!

    [Reply]

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