Friday, July 18, 2008

Update: The Kitchen Garden

Alternate (and appropriate) titles of this post:
  • The Chard Stands Alone
  • Death and Destruction

  • And then there were none
Yeah, the kitchen garden didn't really pan out, sadly. I lovingly watered my little seedlings and they grew indoors for a few weeks, then I transplanted everything outside. The beet sprouts didn't really take once they were outside and died. I pulled them out, then planted seeds directly in the outdoor planters and they seemed to like that much better. The radishes thrived and grew big leaves right away. The chives didn't like sharing a container with the parsley for some reason. The parsley didn't grow much at first but then started to steadily grow after a few weeks outside. The rainbow chard seedlings went into a large container on my front porch, which gets less sun. I have read multiple times that chard is really hardy so I stuck it in a place with less sun. I planted some lettuce from seed directly into pots and that did amazingly well. It sprouted within a few days and was almost ready to eat.

And then...

I went away for six days. And it turns out that those six days were the most horrible, brutal, hottest we've had all summer. I didn't check the weather report before I left and figured that since it had been raining some at night, my plants would be fine without me. Halfway through my trip I thought better of that and left my roommate a message asking him to please give my plants some water. Well, he knew there was a big planter of something out front, but missed the pots of lettuce, herbs, beets, and radishes outside of the back door. The back door that he uses at least twice a day. Yeah.

When I got home to sweltering PDX heat late on a Sunday night, I was greeted with the carnage. All my plants (except the parsley, strangely) had withered and died. They were limp and brown and sad, hanging over the side of their pots. I cried.

It was own fault really, for not thinking this out ahead of time. A smart gardener would have asked her female neighbor to look after her plants, or given her male roommate step by step instructions on exactly which plants to water and when. A smart gardener would not have left her little baby plants alone, parched, in the blazing heat for six days. A smart gardener I am not.

Most of these plants (except the herbs) are plants that do not like the hot weather. Beets and radishes and lettuces do much better in the late spring/early summer or in the fall when the weather is mild. So starting over mid June to harvest bitter veggies in July or August didn't really make sense. I guess I'll see how the chard fairs and try again next year.

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