As I spent an extremely hot morning trying to excavate my garden for the 2nd season planting, all I could think about was a silly list of things I want to remember for next year. (I apologize in advance for my violent attitude toward garden pests. Yes, many bugs were harmed in the making of this post.)
If you see any of these critters--don't think--just squash them. Immediately. It doesn't matter if they are your kid's best friends. There will be plenty left for them to play with. I promise. These bugs' only goal is to eat your seedlings. I know. I've seen them. Trust me. They are not your garden's friend!
Sweat dripping into your eyes stings. A lot. Get up early! Even if you think you will do your gardening in the evening when it's cool, you probably won't, so just get up, get outside, and get it done!
If you are planting vine fruit (melons, summer squash, etc), don't plant them on the edge of your garden box. They will constantly climb out of the box, and you will have to train them across your trellis--making a huge clump of vines at one corner. (I'm not positive, but I don't think anything inside the clump will get enough sun.) Next year, I will plant them in the center of the trellis. (You'd think I would've been able to figure that out without doing it the wrong way first, but I did mention that I'm the Dummy, right?)
To learn how to make the trellis, check out this post.
Aren't these bugs cute? They travel in pairs and everything. Wrong! They are the enemy! They travel in pairs in order to make millions more to devour your vine veggies and fruit. There's a reason they are called Squash Bugs--and it's not because they live on squash plants. It's because they should be squashed! Every one of them! Beware, though. They stink when you squash them! (The baby ones--gray and tiny--don't really stink, but be sure to squash the adults a few feet away from the garden, or you will smell them as you plant and dig.)
If you plan to add mulch to the garden and stir it in with your bare hands, cut your nails first! Fingernails bending back as they rip through the dirt hurts!
Learned this one last year . . . unless you have a tall trellis, one or two vine plants will fill an entire 4x4 garden box . . . and the area surrounding it. Use a trellis so that you can plant something else inside the box, too!
Having a "green thumb doesn't always mean that you are a natural gardener. Sometimes having a green thumb . . . and green fingers . . . and green fingernails just means that you let the morning glory get out of hand, and you spent the entire morning ripping them out of the ground in a feeble attempt to find your garden boxes!!!
If your garden boxes are surrounded by dirt, and you plan to plant a second harvest mid July, prepare your soil early, and plan some way to get to your garden once the July rain has turned the dirt to six inches of shoe-stealing mush! If you can't get to the garden, you can't plant it.
Although getting soaked from working in the garden all day doesn't feel as refreshing as getting soaked in a swimming pool, you still feel great afterward!
For all of you hard-core, experienced gardeners, I'm sure these facts seem kind of silly. For this inexperienced gardener trying her best to garden in the desert . . . they seem silly, too! I'm learning.
Check out some of my other gardening posts!
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