Gardening is a very hands-on activity. A recent event brought back some of my own memories and underlined this fact.
You might have read on the blog that I have let my good friend develop a garden plot here on my property. If not, the short version is that I have a friend interested in growing fresh, organic produce for herself.
I don’t employ any kind of chemicals or sprays, and especially in my food growing areas have been careful that no one else does either (there was a time my husband insisted on using some for the driveway).
So this is her second year of cultivating her 12′ x 14′ space in part of my old veggie garden.
The story is this: My friend came out early, prepared her plot with hand weeding and planted some early vegetables: peas, beets, radishes. So far, so good. They were sprouting nicely. Were.
Then she sent a person out here to till part of the garden, unsupervised. Baby plants can look a lot like weeds even to experienced gardeners, if the spot they are sowed in isn’t marked, or even if it is.
You can see where the story is going… her beets and radishes got tilled under.
It isn’t a tragedy, just a cautionary tale.
I don’t know how many times things were cut down, mowed, nicked by mowers, and trampled by family members who were drafted to help in the yard and gardens.
Then there are those who take it upon themselves to do something that ultimately is very damaging to plants.
Like the time my mother (an experienced gardener) came for a short visit and managed to completely wipe out my carefully nurtured Campanula cochlearifolia (sometimes called Campanula pusilla). She was so proud of clearing the “weed” from around my front steps…
Gardening calls for our oversight. Even the great Gertrude Jekyll did not leave the hired help to themselves, and we should make sure that those who work in any capacity in our gardens be educated about the how and why of mowing, caring for the plants, or techniques like removing branches, etc.
My cardinal rule for my children and husband: check with me. Just when it comes to the gardens and yard, anyway. That is my area of expertise and it was always my charge.
Sometimes I feel like the Rodney Dangerfield character around here: “I don’t get no respect!”. I do know quite a bit about gardens and plants after all these years
There are a few times I remember when I dug up my own stuff, accidentally. So it definitely goes with the territory that mistakes are made. But to keep them to a minimum, be present by “checking in” on any work that is being done for you. The first time, anyway.
So back to the original story that inspired sharing this bit of garden advice: there is still time and a second sowing may be done with these early cool season plantings.
Some mistakes are permanent ones, but this is not one of them. It was merely an opportunity for me to share with my fellow gardeners this reminder that gardening is a nurturing activity and we should keep watch.