The Accidental Gardener
I'm not a gardener by nature. I'm certainly into food and have been for years: farmers' markets, cooking, parties, restaurants, and of course, eating. It has taken me longer to develop enough gardening skills to create a thriving plot every year.
I have now planted and maintained enough successive kitchen gardens to know how to do the basics fairly well. In the Upper Midwest, our growing season is so short that we only get one chance every summer to get things rights. Gardening is not like cooking the perfect blueberry scones: I could make a batch every day until I got it right. With a short growing season, gardeners around here only get one chance to nurture seeds or seedlings from start to finish. Do-overs happen the next year, based on mistakes made this year.
Here's what I have learned over many seasons: I can start lettuce from seed. I can plant tomato seedlings around Memorial Day, then pick and eat and cherry tomatoes by mid-summer. I can plant enough sunflowers for a full array of these tall yellow 'faces' by August.
I have also made multiple gardening mistakes.
I have planted tomato seedlings, but failed to stake them, and watched, rather helplessly as the plants grew, toppled over, and produced almost no tomatoes.
I have started sunflowers from seedling, only to lose tiny plants to the appetites of rabbits in my neighborhood at a time when it was too late to replant.
I have put cucumber seedlings into tiny raised garden plots, left for vacation, and returned home to a garden overtaken by cucumber vines.
In the Upper Midwest, our growing season is so short that we only get one chance every summer to get things right. After years of mishaps, I think I have things under control.