Still Making Rookie Gardening Mistakes

Garden full o’ weeds

It’s about a month into the garden and I have to say it’s not turning out like I hoped. I’d even say it’s a disaster. Not a Fyre Festival level disaster; there are no stranded tourists or class action lawsuits involved here. But where I should have the beginnings of my vegetable garden, I have nothing.

It started with the decision to use seeds I had leftover from last year. I thought I was being smart and economical. Apparently I was being neither. I planted squash, cucumber, carrots, lettuce and pepper seeds during the first week of May and waited for the seedlings to make their way to the surface.

During week three I recognized several of the green things as weeds and picked them. I wasn’t sure about the others still left so I contacted one of the Master Gardeners in my local Cooperative Extension office. After a couple of email communications where I explained what was going on, this was their response:

“Sorry Marissa. I don’t think you are going to see anything from those seeds this year. Seeds are best purchased fresh each season or collect your own and plant them the following season.”

Perhaps I was getting a little cocky in year three of the garden and thought I knew it all. But I admit I feel like a complete failure and committed a total rookie mistake.

Newly purchased seedlings

I had two options to fix this. I could start from scratch and plant fresh seeds. That meant I wouldn’t have any produce until late August or September. Option two involved purchasing vegetable plants and transplanting them. I went with option two so I could still enjoy fresh vegetables during the summer months.

Purchasing the plants felt like cheating but at least I know I’ll have squash, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and herbs to look forward to.

Two lessons I learned from my mistakes and hope you do too:

  1. Don’t use old seeds!
  2. If you don’t recognize what’s growing in your garden as a plant, it’s probably a weed.

It can only go uphill from here, right?

Newly planted garden

author avatar
MJ Population Health Division Director

4 thoughts on “Still Making Rookie Gardening Mistakes

  1. Hang in there! Each year you learn new things and it gets better and better! This represents process improvement. Be proud that you are sticking it out. Remember a hobby is supposed to be relaxing and not anxiety producing! Lol

  2. I planted my garden at the end of April and it is thriving. I learned from last year not to over crowd, use insecticide, use fertilizer, and mulch. And use organic soil. All of that must have worked because my peppers are producing, last year they did not give me one pepper. My cucumbers, squash, and eggplant have beautiful blooms. My tomatoes are in containers and have small tomatoes on the vines. Hopefully nothing drastic will change the progression.

    I think you almost have to plant at the end of April when the soil is just getting warm. Seeds are funny to use. I never have luck. It is not cheating to plant the vegetables from a pot.

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