Let me start of by saying that I am no Cisco when it comes to gardening. Before I had a yard, I had a notorious black thumb. Although I dreamed of a windowsill lush with ferns and flowers, all house plants would shrivel up with just a glance from me. I once killed a 8′ tall Saguaro cactus that I found on the street in NYC.
After buying our house, I made mistakes and killed the ones outdoors. Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Flax, and countless others have all died under my care. However, after 8 years of reading and trying I have at least learned how to keep a vegetable garden. I have learned how important the dirt is, how important the variety and quality of the seeds are, how important it is to keep the cats from using the raised beds as litter boxes, and that straw makes the perfect mulch for strawberries.
Tom says I now have a beige thumb. Snigger.
So the other day, when I saw a plot across the street from my daughters preschool, first I laughed, then I felt a surge of self-righteousness. “I don’t think I ever did anything like this. Some people out there might need a little intervention. I better write about this.”
Here is what is wrong with this picture (since I have no way to know if you are laughing too):
- Putting out supports before your plants break ground is just setting yourself up for embarrassment. The sheer amount of supports is shameful. Having this curbside is like hanging your underwear on the flag pole.
- Those wires are meant to support tomato plants, thus I deduced that they are trying to grow tomatoes from seed. Sorry sister, that doesn’t happen here in the Northwest. I won’t even buy tomato starts unless they are at least a foot tall and I can get them in the ground the first week of May.
- The concept of a raised bed is that you are supposed to fill it up with dirt. Putting a frame around a patch of bare dirt on the ground is doing nothing. It’s just telling humans not to step here (I guess the supports help with that too).
- There are visible stones in your gray dirt. Seeds can’t sprout through rocks, and they don’t like the soil that was once under the grass you just dug up. Our Northwest soil has almost zero nutrients on it’s own. The rain washes it all out every winter. You have to add at least three inches of compost (or similarly good dirt) to get anything to grow, and several cups of organic fertilizer helps too.
This would actually make an interesting public art project. Maybe I should sneak out there and put old Barbie dolls waist deep in the middle of each support. Nah, then they would just blame the failure of their harvest on the vandalism. I had better let them earn their own beige thumbs.