Ding, Ding, Ding… bring out your dead!
Welcome back to Garden Blogger's Death Day! We're here to list our losses for May, 2010! This is the day for gardeners who overwater, underwater, maim, prune or otherwise neglect their plants to a state of dismal droopage or untimely death. This is the day for gardeners like me with black thumbs who kill more than they cultivate, for cadmium-green-thumbed gardeners who have a lapse in judgment and commit accidental planticide, and for any poor soul whose plants fall victim to that fickle mother who controls us all - Mother Nature.
Thanks to some poorly-timed planting and my big insect invasion I have a lot to lay to rest this month. I think a moment of silence will be in order at the end of this post because a mass burial in the compost bin will be taking place momentarily. On a brighter note, I have much more alive than dead, which as you know, is a huge measure of gardening success in my book.
The spinach just wasn't meant to be. I'm going to assume it was just too hot for spinach. It's either that or it's that "gardening paradox" issue that keeps coming up in my yard - you know about the paradox, right? The more I'm looking forward to a plant growing, the greater its chances of death. Of course the opposite is true as well. If you don't care about a plant or even like the fruit that it puts out, it'll be big, bushy and prolific just to spite you. I think I had about nine spinach plants growing because I was SO looking forward to fresh spinach, and they're all brown wilted sticks now. It rained all day today and yesterday so I didn't get outside to photograph it, but here it is about three weeks ago before it died.
You know, my spinach disaster has reminded me of a very important lesson I've learned from my garden failures. If you're a new gardener (especially a new Florida gardener), take note of this important lesson that I learned the hard way:
You'll read in numerous gardening books and websites and you can feel safe planting what is offered in season at your local nursery or big box store (like Home Depot or Lowes). The idea is that each planting zone's stores will only stock the seedlings that should be planted in your area at that time of the year, so plant what's being sold and you'll have success. IT'S NOT TRUE! I planted spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage this Spring because they were for sale in these stores. But I have a Florida Vegetable Gardening book that specifically states that spinach should only be planted in Central Florida in October-November; that broccoli should be planted from August-January; that cabbage should be planted from Sept-Jan and cauliflower from October-January. Well aren't I the sucker for planting the seedlings this Spring that we picked up at local nurseries? Indeed I am. So the big lesson - consult your local planting guides to see what's safe to plant and don't rely on the old wisdom of what's for sale is what's safe to plant.
The cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli just plain need to come out and move into their new homes in compost-world. They bolted straight to seed and never grew out, but grew up. I'm not sure why I have hung on to them for so long…I think I just liked seeing something green in their little squares, but clearly they're just attracting pests at this point. I only had a couple of each that went in the garden this spring, so I suppose it's no great loss in the grand scheme of the garden. This is how the broccoli has looked for about two months.
And one of my summer squash plants grew a nice looking squash and then the end turned rotten and fell off. I assume it's blossom end rot, but if it is, I'll admit to being quite surprised it appeared in my SFG. I assumed the soil was good enough that it didn't need too much tinkering with. I believe if it is BER, then the plants cannot be saved? I suppose I do have some reading up to do - as always.
So how about all of you? What fell victim to your gardening wrath this month? Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog showing what you killed or maimed this month. We're here for you. Let's not judge, but support each other like a good pair of pantyhose or a well-staked garden trellis.