Hope’s Corner: A Garden of Earthly Delights – The Dickinson Press

I’m facing a gardening dilemma of epic proportions. One that will have far-reaching consequences. Okay, the range is just the square meter of garden box we have in the backyard. But it remains a dilemma.

Last year at the end of May I planted lettuce seeds in the raised garden bed. In June not a single seed had germinated. I blamed the grackles and blue jays and planted another packet of seeds.

By mid-June I still had no lettuce seedlings. I changed my tactics and planted three mounds of gourd seeds with three seeds per mound. I was determined to grow something. Basically, I was determined to grow anything.

The gourd seeds were an assortment of green and yellow guys. Some promised to have warts. Others had to be smooth. Green-necked plants with yellow undersides were also prominently depicted on the seed packet. I’m especially fond of yellow and green long-neck gourds, so I was hoping that most of those nine seeds would produce gooseneck vegetables for me.

I also hedged my bets and planted a packet of lettuce seeds as a hedgerow around the edges of the garden box. Since I had no success with the easy-to-grow Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, I hoped for better luck with exotic arugula and endive. That didn’t happen.

Meanwhile the gourds sprouted and shot up like weeds. This also applied to the weeds.

I didn’t want the gourd vines to wander across the lawn, so I gave them tomato cages. They became towers of gourds. Some vines went up and down in the tomato cages. Others circled around the outside.

The arugula germinated half-heartedly, but the gourd leaves soaked up all the sunlight. I had albino arugula plants about three feet tall, with two or three leaves on them. Even the garden rabbits didn’t want to eat the arugula. And the endive seedlings just curled up and died.

The gourds were blooming like crazy and I saw little gourds in the tomato cages. I expected a bountiful harvest. And what a harvest it was. There were so many, I put them in a bathtub. They were all white, without necks and without a single wart. Boring.

This spring all the lettuce seeds from last year will come out. There are green seedlings, purple seedlings and endive seedlings. And one of the dull white gourds remained in the garden all winter. The seeds also germinate.

The dilemma. Do I let the gourd seedlings continue to grow? Will they crowd out and overshadow the lettuce? Will the white gourd seeds give me long neck greens? Or, alternatively, will the garden rabbits eat everything?

The one thing gardeners will surely cultivate is patience. Let’s wait and see!