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The Coastal Gardener: A garden geared for failure

October 01, 2010|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • Lettuce, carrots, beets, peas and onions are examples of vegetables that should be planted now.
Lettuce, carrots, beets, peas and onions are examples… (Daily Pilot )

I stopped to get my morning coffee at a little place not far from home. Sharing the same parking lot was one of the big home improvement stores. You know the one, a cavernous place with lots of pallet racks and forklifts. So, with my coffee in hand, I took a walk.

Just inside the entrance to the garden department was a display of vegetables. As I'm sure you know, vegetable gardening is the fastest growing segment of gardening. It seems everyone nowadays, from Michelle Obama to the guy next door, has at least a few vegetables tucked somewhere in the garden.

Ah, the vegetable display. There's something soothing about peeking through the little vegetable starts early in the morning. Let's see what I should be planting this weekend. My choices today were seven different varieties of peppers, a large medley of about 20 varied tomatoes, two eggplant selections, a cucumber, both pole and bush beans, a couple of squash options, a melon, corn and a whole lot of basil.

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"Hmmm, I think I'd better write a column about this," I thought to myself, as I stood there in dismay.

Here's the problem: In the past year or two, legions of nongardeners have taken up growing vegetables. These people are new to gardening; they're novices to shovels, soil, hoses and growing plants. These beginners need a few positive experiences in order to sustain their enthusiasm, to keep them planting, and to expand their gardening activity into other areas of the landscape.

As I stood reviewing the offerings, a lady came through the front door and immediately made a left turn directly to the large vegetable display. She was clearly a busy person, probably a mom. She knew her way around the department and certainly had been there before. With an empty shopping cart, she began her selections — some peppers, beans, a couple of tomatoes, a basil or two, and several other vegetables.

I imagined that soon she would be home, with gloves on and spade in hand, planting her new crop. She would then spend the next few weeks tending to her young transplants, waiting for the bounty of healthy, fresh, seasonal vegetables for her and her family to enjoy. Maybe the children would help a little too, getting first-hand experience about the joys of gardening.

Of course, she was doomed to failure.

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