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6 Garden Regrets that I’m not Fretting Too Much About

I experience the garden as a great place of forgiveness and opportunities for second chances. If I forget to plant cool weather crops in the spring, I have another chance in the fall. If I neglect to clear the beds in the fall (which I did!) they’ll still be there ready to be cleared out in the spring. There are consequences of course for non-action as well as to actions but life is too short to fret much about regrets such as these:

1) We didn’t get around to ordering another apple tree or two from Trees of Antiquity. The consequence will be that it’ll be another year before the backyard orchard gets rolling. Another more immediate consequence is that our Roxbury Russet will likely not bear too well at least until it gets another playmate to pollinate.

2) I didn’t do a good final weeding and clearing especially of the old asparagus bed. The consequence, this year at least, is that I get to do it now. Usually it’s a smart idea to clear away old weeds and stems to minimize the chance that parasites can live over winter in them, especially the kind that love eating whatever kind of plant is planted in that bed. I’m not too concerned because I doubt much could survive the winter we’ve just endured. Still, all things being equal, I wish I’d cleared off the asparagus bed in particular so it could have been soaking up every drop of sunlight.

3) I deeply regret doing whatever it is that I did a few years back to kill the center of my old asparagus bed. The only thing I remember doing out of the ordinary is adding a bunch of compost I got from my Mom’s house when she was moving out of her house. I suspect that it must have been sprayed by some utility pole workers who were overzealous in their attempts to eradicate some poison ivy growing nearby. I’ve ended up with a little dead zone in the middle of the circular bed. Though I’ve replanted it, nothing but weeds grow. The consequence is that this year, I’m going to remove a good quantity of that soil and replace it with fresh, known good compost.

4) After the construction last year when we got our wonderful barn, the builder warned “Be sure to get some gravel on that driveway.” Well, it’s been over a year and we still have not added any gravel. Part of the trouble is that I have this vision of how I’d REALLY like a little area with brick pavers at the apron of the barn, a little place for picnics, if not parking the car. Trust me: if you could see my plan, you’d think it was great! But right now, the melting snow has made that end of the driveway into a rutted, muddy mess. It’s not really soil so the grass seed I’ve tried to start doesn’t do well and the straw we’ve spread doesn’t protect the soft ground from the weight of a Honda Civic. The consequence is that it’s ugly and we track in a bit more mud that I’d like. But a better solution is something near the top of our goals for this year.

5) I regret not transplanting my rhubarb to the edge of the barn. At present, we keep our rhubarb in a tub. Initially we did this because I took some roots from my Mom’s house and we didn’t have a good place to plant them. The tub we use is one of those nice liners that fits perfectly in a half-barrel. Last year I took this tub inside because I thought it might freeze too deeply and kill the roots. I didn’t take it inside this year, and furthermore, I didn’t plant it beside the barn. The consequence is that there is a line of erosion along the drip edge of the barn. It’s ugly. I’m also a little anxious because I haven’t seen any sprouts coming from the rhubarb yet.

6) I left a couple stacks of tomato cages outside all winter. Normally, we store them upstairs in the barn but I just didn’t get around to putting them up there. Over the winter, I did manage to grab a few and stow them in the over-crowded first floor of the barn but there are easily a dozen left outside. The consequence is that they will have gathered a deeper coat of surface rust, perhaps even some of them will be now in need of repair. I’m not crying too much though, even though I’ll try better next year to get them in doors.

There are likely other things I haven’t done correctly, things I SHOULD be regretting but that I’m just too dumb to notice yet. Let this be another warning that we are NOT “Master Gardeners;” we’re amateurs in the best sense of the term. We garden because we love it. In this blog, we’re being honest about everything we do, the dumb stuff as well as the good stuff. Take our example as equal parts role model and cautionary tale.

And have fun in your garden too!

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