Only the Brave

To invest in something – your money, your time, your learning, your effort and care – and then to take risks with it, is either stupid or brave or maybe it’s science. Well whatever it is, it happens every single go-round with this gardening thing.  

You do your research, plan your steps, make your purchases, set it all up for success. But once you actually begin and cross that threshold, shit happens. It’s inevitable and so therefore is the risk factor. What to do now? Something or nothing?  It’s a risk either way. And so here you are: weeks into a project where time really matters, staring into the face of a likely failure that could definitely affect everything going forward into the season.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart.

If you gardened your whole adult life, from the time you are 25 to the time you are 75, you would only get 50 practice runs. Imagine that in the context of a musician or an athlete. Nobody would be any good. So here we are, the make it or break it lot, the do or die bunch, the “eh fuck it, there’s always next year” sort. 

There will be failure, death (of the plant sort), trial and oh-so-much error. It’s just how it goes. In order to do it, you have to be willing to lose what you’ve worked for because chances are pretty good that you may.

So here I am. Brave woman. Disturbing roots and replanting seedlings deeply. Hoping my Chinese Cabbage doesn’t immediately bolt when I put it into the garden (I read that was a thing). Hoping my skinny leggy mustard greens and bok choy don’t rot when I bury them better.

I don’t think these floppy guys could continue like this

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But truth be told, I’ve never had any problems with transplanting anything. The good broccoli plants I have now (that did survive the ice and snow, by the way) were initially leggy newborns that I re-planted up to their scrawny necks. So maybe I’m not that risky and brave. Maybe I have a bit of experience on my side. Either way, this old lady gets a feeling that teeters between exhilaration and terror during these dealings. 

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To elaborate on the ice/snow storm frozen broccoli/brussels outcome, we have some burned leaves but that seems to be it. Maybe the ice coating protected my green babies, but we got down to 12 degrees F two nights in a row and everything survived.

(Notice how healthy and green the weeds look. Wtf.)

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Back to my present endeavors.

Three trays now hold various brassicas, herbs, and flowers. Here’s what I’ve got going so far:

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And here is their normal home:

My basement “greenhouse”

I was working with two lights initially and just added the other three a few days ago.  Hopefully it helps with future legginess because I estimate having three more 50 cell trays before spring comes.

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Here Come the Dinosaurs!

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Snow!

– -Probably the only bit we will get this year.

Frozen broccoli, anyone?

…I’m curious to see what happens to my garden after this. The kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli have done very well up to now. We’ve been into the twenties on several occasions, but have never had precipitation. Also tomorrow night is supposed to drop to around 10. I’m in zone 7b and will soon find out just how much my babies can take. 

Fall Garden

Doubts and origins

It’s been ignored pretty well, I must say. But without earth-scorching temperatures and swarms of insects and their hungry larvae, the garden has done well all on its own.

Black Magic Kale

Baby Bok Choy

Why dost thou

think thou needest effing light before your first true leaves arrive? And why dost thou still stretch out for the daytime skylights in the mudroom after spending all night under a grow light in the basement?

Why don’t my plants seem to follow the rules?  Little brats. They are cute with their little baby broccoli selves, though. Maybe it’s just because broccoli is a floppy baby anyway? 

Do I have the energy to plant a fall garden? Can I hack up the grass and move my decrepit containers and amend the soil and have a round three for 2016? Is it worth it? Will the slugs and caterpillars demolish all of my brassicas before they’re even much of anything?  Will planting in the actual earth be worse for pests than even my containers were?

My dirt seems way too full of life as I hack it up. Grubs and beetles and random freaky looking guys.  My hamstrings and shoulders get destroyed after only an hour or two. Why the fuck don’t I have a tiller yet? Too lazy to ask for the help in getting one I guess. I’d rather hack, hack, hack.

Except I’m tired and I haven’t been hacking very much. 

Is this going to happen? Motivation is low due to the shitty little harvests following high hopes over summer. I loved it, I did. But is it time to rest now instead of hacking up the earth to meet a seasonal deadline? 

Don’t know. Leggy babies after a half-hearted planting waiting for my broken body to fix the dirt in the heat makes me question it for sure.