Spring is here in all of her glory. But she went from winter temperatures to those of summer. Where did the pleasantly mild weather go? That is my grace period of final garden bed cleanup, dutifully applying compost, weeding, planting, and mulching. These days the warmer weather is loosening my tongue and sapping my motivation. Yes, it is time for another soul-cleansing true confession.
You see…It is nearly mid-June and I have not fully planted my vegetable garden. Oh sure, my cold frames were planted in March. We happily snacked on early season spinach, radishes, and assorted lettuce varieties. I even managed to plant and a few cool season items such as kale and kohlrabi in late April, but from there, my efforts went downhill.
Now as a horticulturist, I know that our region’s average frost-free date is May 15th. The key word in that sentence is average. It goes without saying that I usually wait another week before I start planting warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, and squash without protection. May can be fickle around here… dropping a late season snow and giving us below freezing temperatures. But this year, my ‘walls-of-water’ are still safely tucked away in my garden shed rather than being pressed into duty as sentinels of the garden. The calendar shows that we are well into June and by all accounts my garden should be fully planted… but it isn’t.
Now I could give you a variety of excuses… a few that could be plausible, but none of them true. My mass planting just hasn’t happened. All of those plants are still in their 2 1/2″ pots impatiently waiting to stretch their roots into loamy top soil. They are displaying their displeasure with yellowing leaves and drying out in their pots about every 6 hours. If plants could sulk, mine are doing it.
To make matters worse, I know better. I went to college for horticulture. I did internships at greenhouses and nurseries. I grew up gardening and have been gardening for decades. I am still doing all of the work… weeding empty garden beds, watering thirsty plants, and checking for insects. My workload would actually be easier if I got everything planted. I wake up every morning with that thought and yet when evening rolls around, I look to my collection of bedding plants… still there on the patio.
Yet in light of my failure to plant, I am still an optimistic gardener. I envision the beds full and lush. Tomatoes turning red, the blush of purple in eggplants, and weeds mostly choked out with a good layer of straw mulch. Early mornings will be filled with harvesting and preparing meals from our garden’s bounty. So much potential. Yet the garden is stalled in its quasi-planted state.
I think to myself, “tomorrow is another day”. The forecast is promising. My body feels good and the weeds have been pulled. Will my garden get planted? With fingers crossed, not only do I hope that confession is good for my soul, but also for my garden.