Reader urges – “take a chance and plant!!”

Principles of good gardening  (like my 3 keys) are fundamental truths that apply to almost every location across a wide range of the earth’s surface.

When it comes to facts and figures about what will grow, when it will grow, and how it will grow, it’s impossible to state anything as being 100% true all the time. Too many variables.

The best we can do is generalize.

Common Reasons Gardeners Don’t Plant

Gardeners often fail to plant for various reasons.  Some of the most common (although there are many more) are:

  • It’s too cold.
  • It’s too late.
  • It’s too dry.
  • It’s too wet.
  • It’s too early.
  • It didn’t do well for me last year.

None of those reasons mean that you can’t plant.  Often there are ways to work around those disadvantages.  (Many of them are covered in the almost 800 posts on TMG.)  Not to mention that an unexpected change in the weather can make a huge difference.

One Thing is Certain

But there is one thing that we can be absolutely sure of.  And that is if we don’t plant that seed, it won’t produce anything.

A Reader Reinforces the Point

After the last post was sent out, Susan sent an email to me addressing the topic mentioned above. As is often the case, sometimes readers make a point better than I can — or at least confirm and reinforce a point I’ve made many times on TMG.  Such was the case with her recent communication.

She writes:

“I had intended to plant a bit more kale 2-3 weeks after I planted the first bed.  However, I didn’t get the second round planted for more like 4-5 weeks later.

“The seed sprouted and grew to 1 1/2-2” tall and then stopped.I thought, oh, well.If it can survive the winter, maybe it will grow in the spring.All three of these rows (shown in the picture below) were planted at the same time even though the growth is different.

Susan’s kale

“Well, with the past few days of warmer weather, it has started growing.  Will see how high it is by this weekend with the warmer days and nights this week.

Please continue to get the word out to take a chance and plant!!  As you have said in previous posts, if you don’t plant, you know you won’t get anything.  I think of that every time I look at this bed.  I would have never guessed when I planted this seed that the first week in November would have days in the 60s and nights in the 50s!!!!!”

Practicing What I Recommend

Loosing the First Planting of Cabbage

My first planting of cabbage was right on time.  Then I transplanted to the garden and lost it all.

It was late when I finally got to the second planting.

Seed for each variety was planted into a little 6 inch circle in the garden bed rather than a container. (You’ll recall I wrote about this in the letter to subscribers on October 8th.) Whatever came up I’d transplant where I wanted it. Some came up.  Some didn’t.

I transplanted the strongest leaving the remaining ones in the circle to continue growing just in case I lost any of the others.

The Copenhagen Market Seedlings look great except for one that a slug damaged.  The Early Jersey seedlings are about half the size. But from what I’ve experienced with Early Jersey that’s normal for that variety.

Chinese cabbage grows more quickly. I’m trying to resist harvesting any leaves until it gets as big as possible before the cold sets in. I anticipate the other two varieties making it through the winter and producing some delicious heads in the spring.

Copenhagen Market seedlings are to the left.  Chinese cabbage to the right.

Losing Almost All of the First Planting of Lettuce

The lettuce at the top of the picture below are all that remained of my first planting. It’s a lot bigger than it looks and is giving me enough  lettuce to enjoy daily.

The next-in-size plants are from my second planting.  The smallest plants to the left are from the third planting.

I have another planting still in the container. I’ll transplant some time this month.

3 plantings of  Winter Density lettuce (November 3)

Final Thought

If you want to plant but are hesitant for some reason like the ones I’ve mentioned, you might want to take a chance and plant anyway.

Like Susan (and me) you might be pleasantly surprised.


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  • Theresa, thank you for reminding us of this principle. This post comes at the very right time also for me 🙂

  • Hello Theresa, It’s always a pleasure to see a post show up. Keep up the great work!
    Much garden success here in central Iowa this year as well as some failures. Pretty much normal and like you I grow a large variety of vegetables. Disappointing year for the squash, cucumber and watermelon. No watermelon….a first but rewarded with a few squash and cucumbers through persistence. We have had some frosts here (zone 5) but I’m still harvesting lettuce, kale and spinach. Life is good for this gardener. Much gratitude here for having this passion of gardening and I enjoy the exercise, fresh air, planning, healthy eats and the satisfaction from it all.
    All the best and I look forward to the next post. Many Thanks, Jim

  • I love this post Theresa! So many analogies about life! Just take a chance and plant…and keep believing all things are possible…..never give up…keep moving forward, etc! Such a good word for me this morning!

  • Hiya Theresa! And Susan!

    Yep, take a chance and plant is probably one of the best things I learned here. Used to be, I’d put out some lettuce seed (once), wouldn’t get any lettuce and thought to myself “gee, I just don’t have any luck at all with lettuce”. It’s embarrassing to admit how many seasons I did that. Nowadays I eat more salads than I ever have in my life, all thanks to what I’ve learned from Theresa via TMG.

    For me saving seed goes hand in hand with take a chance and plant. If I’ve paid $3.00 or so for 1/8 teaspoon of seed in a little packet, I’m much more stingy and careful with where, when and how I use that seed. If I’ve got ¼ or ½ cup of saved seed, I’ll sow some in various locations every week or so just to see what happens. And still can hold back a tablespoon or so for the just in case. Cause you never know, so it’s good to have backup =-).

    Take care and God bless,

  • I just love this community of like minded gardeners!
    Theresa, you have taught me so much which translates to healthier food for my family and a great sense of accomplishment.
    More often than not there is also great information in the comments.
    Thank you all for helping me feed my family.

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