The Fall Gardens sign on the Earl May seed rack absolved me of any responsibility, as far as I was concerned. It wasn’t a matter of picking something that would grow in the late season in Iowa, it was a matter of picking something we would like to eat.
Those are the kind of choices I like.
I flipped through seed packets. I pulled several off the rack and peered at their backs for guidance. I like radishes, but did I want to pick out the kind that claim to grow in 24 days? Or could I wait 60 days for white icicle radishes? Did I want to deal with broccoli? Did I want red leaf lettuce? Or green?
In the end, I selected four packets: rainbow chard (Colorful!), white icicle radishes (Crisp!) mesclun mix lettuce (A complete salad!), and purple bush beans (Good for freezing!).
People. PEOPLE. What was I thinking? I did not have room for four new vegetables, particularly ones that come in packets. I am a seedling girl.
But I brought them home anyway. This is why I cannot go volunteer at the animal shelter.
On Monday night, I headed out to the blank, L-shaped canvas left by the zucchini plant. It was July 31, just one day before the Iowa State Extension Service says to get out of the planting business in Iowa.
I looked over the available space and determined that something had to go. That something was going to be the beans. I love beans, particularly the purple kind, which I think look cool and taste even better. But they’re another one of those viney, climbing vegetables, and I kind of have my hands full with the whole staking situation at the moment. Sadly, I set them aside. Maybe I can save the seeds for next year?
I sectioned off the area into thirds. I dug three trenches. I threw in some slow-release plant food, because I don’t have any compost, and then I opened up my seed packets.
Are the rest of you aware of how very many seeds come in a packet? I looked down at my little trenches. I looked into the seed packets.
Then, I made an executive decision. One can always thin, if one needs to. Plus, I’ve been spotting many more rabbits than usual lately. If I’m going to grow a salad bar for them, it might as well be plentiful. That way, maybe I’ll actually get a little salad of my own.
I dumped in all the mesclun seeds. All of them. Into a ditch about 2 inches deep and maybe a foot and a half long.
This was the point at which I envisioned experienced gardeners laughing at me. I decided to restrain myself with the chard, dumping only about half the seeds into the same size ditch, just to the left of the mesclun. The radish area was smaller, and I also stuck to half the packet.
I’m hoping the strong plants will survive, and I’m pretty excited about getting to watch something grow from seed. When we started the whole grand garden experiment, I thought maybe next year would be when I might attempt to grow from seed. This year? No way. But no one around here sells lettuce seedlings, at least not in late July. And I’m having way too much fun to give up on this garden before the first frost.