I made two serious gardening mistakes this season that I think are worth sharing with you all. One was a mistake that I shouldn’t have made and another a simple error with significant consequences.
This summer has been tough for gardening. Things are growing, but the numerous heat waves have caused plants to struggle. Even the ones who love the sun and heat! This type of extreme weather already has me thinking about the future of my garden. Will I be able to plant the myriad of greens I typically enjoy planting in the spring ever again? The shortened spring and quick arriving summer weather made it challenging to plant some of the stuff I’m used to. Now, the heat is causing even my peppers blossoms to drop. I’ve already begun browsing seed catalogs to find heat-tolerant varieties of everything I like to plant.
Enough lamenting about the weather, though. Here are the two mistakes I will aim never to make again:
- Not checking nursery plants for insects
I was in such a hurry to plant and fill out my garden beds after a mass seedling failure that I bought plants without checking for pests that had already taken up residence. I was careful to throw away leftover seed starting mix after the seedling massacre because it’s clear that something was contaminated. In my rush, though, I planted healthy veg without looking for hiding insects, and I suffered the consequences. My pest covers were working wonders until I introduced an already infested plant underneath. The cabbage worm population increased exponentially, so I’ve had to continuously head to the garden each day to pick them off and control the infestation. Thankfully, the kale has grown big and strong and can handle a bit of damage.
- Leaving the pest cover open overnight.
I have another bed covered to prevent pests, but a few nights ago, I completely forgot to close it. Cabbage moths quickly found their way inside and had a party. Instead of having another batch of brassicas infested, I decided to pull up most of the kale in that bed and plant fall carrots, beans, and beets that won’t succumb to these pests. I left a few plants, though, as sacrificial items that I hope might draw cabbage moths away from other brassicas. While this was a costly mistake that was preventable, I’m less upset about it. Because, honestly, sh*t happens in the garden and all you can do is shrug it off and find a way to deal with or make the best of it.
Which pest is giving you a hard time this year?
Have you had the problem before and do you intend to plant the vegetable again next year? Why or why not? Leave a comment and tell me about it!
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.