I'm inspired by The Crunchy Chicken this morning to recap some of this year's garden bloopers, not in the spirit of self-recrimination so much as in the spirit of not making the same mistakes over and over again. So here are this year's "oopses:"
1. Planting the wrong things. Every spring I experience a bout of temporary insanity and plant cabbage. This is stupid for two reasons: first, I could get enough cabbage to make a kiddie pool full of sauer kraut for less than ten bucks at the farmer's market, come September. Second, my yard was apparently build on an ancient cabbage burial ground full of angry cruciferous spirits, so I've never had a cabbage actually make it to maturity and remain edible. Also, I should really give up on growing watermelons from seed in Minnesota. It's mid-September and the only way I'm using watermelons is if I can them whole in light syrup...in a quart jar. Some things were just never meant to be.
2. Getting lazy about weeding from early July through late August. When I need a saw to take down the lambsquarters, it's been too long. #1 and #2 may be related -- next year I think I'll just stir-fry the quackgrass roots and have a side salad of lambsquarter and wood sorrel and skip planting crops altogether. If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em. Well, except for the deadly nightshade.
3. Not getting seedlings in the ground -- this was largely due to our extremely late spring this year, but it did emphasize for me the importance of having cold frames, mini-hoophouses, or row covers to protect plants so I can get them in the ground on schedule. Now that Jackie Clay has moved to Minnesota and demonstrated all this year the benefits of growing things like peppers in a hoophouse in this climate, I'm sold on the idea. It's just a matter of getting the materials together and actually building them.
4. Forgetting that tomatoes aren't timid little shrubby or viney things; they're vegetative monstrosities capable of dismantling steel cages with their bare stems. I don't need tomato cages; I need a high security tomato lockdown facility with reinforced concrete supports, electrified perimeter fencing, and a moat. That's not to keep the garden pests out -- that's to keep the tomatoes in.