My Worst Mistakes in Gardening

Over the years I have built many gardens and raised plenty of fresh vegetables and flowers but I have had several times when I wished I had never touched the shovel or planted a seed. We were asked to look back at five of our worst experiences and one that sticks in my head the most happened about two seasons ago.

One thing I do when I construct a garden bed in a new location is to begin by preparing the soil using the French till method in which you turn the ground by removing the first blades depth and setting it aside and then digging another blades depth and add your amendments to the soil as needed. I did this at the location I lived last and it was a total nightmare. The area I as preparing had excellent sun and shade, so I figured all would be okay. After digging a 4×4 area all look to be fine, but as I continued digging the 16″ depth I began harvesting all sorts of iron. What I found out was that the people who had lived here before the lady I was rooming from had bought the property had done mechanic work. I was digging up all kinds of auto parts and by the time I had finished I had loaded two truckloads of scrap iron which didn’t include three engine blocks that I had left buried until I could get help to remove them.

Another mistake I made was when I planted cucumbers next to my squash plants. I didn’t realize that they would cross pollinate. Was I ever surprised when the plants reached maturity? They looked like a large cucumber that would make beautiful sliced pickles. The surprise came when we tasted the first few specimens which tasted like a really bitter butternut squash.

Another mistake that I have made in gardening was just throwing out the waste from the harvest. One season I had gotten a load of watermelon and had thrown the hulls and seeds in my mulch pile. I had never had any plant spring from seeds that hadn’t been dried and was I surprised after a few months when everything in the area had been taken over by watermelon vines. I just wish that would happen with my tomatoes or cucumbers.

Another rarity I found while gardening was when I planted several jalapeño plants near and old septic tank in my yard. Now I’ve raised quite a few jalapeno plants over the years but I had never had plants where the peppers turned black. I had always had green or red peppers and occasionally some that were yellow an d the reds would be hot but these black peppers you needed to called 911 with the first bite because your lips began to blister and your throat swell up from the extreme heat produce. I was lucky at the time because I live next door to the fire department.

And the one that really gets me is the adage that the grass grows greener over the septic tank. Well that may be true, but if you plant your garden over the septic tank or leach field those plants and their fruits leave a bad taste but are plentiful in growth.

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